Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Christmas season is a great time to heed the warning of Hebrews 2:1 which tells us, "Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it."  But one might say, "I won't drift away.  I am eternally secure."  Well part of my answer to that is that one aspect of the means that God will use to keep you is your work of paying much closer attention.  This leads me to the reason for this post.  I want to recommend a book to bless you as you seek to set your eyes of faith on Christ during Christmas.

The book is entitled Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (click the title to be taken to Crossway's site).  It is, and I quote, "an anthology of Advent readings collected from the writings and sermons of 22 classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers."  Shelly and I picked up this little book last year and we were both greatly encouraged and I am again finding it to be wonderful source of food for my soul this year.  Many of the authors are some of my all-time favorites - contributors like John Piper, J. Ligon Duncan, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, Skip Ryan, Joni Eareckson Tada, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, etc...  With a line up like that how could one not be challenged and encouraged!

So, what will you do to heed the call and warning of Hebrews.  Brothers and sisters, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.

Striving alongside you,


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Loving Life

Don't forget to join us next Tuesday!!!

He Might Taste Death for Everyone

What an amazing verse, "But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9).  He "tasted death" not merely as an example so that we would not fear death, as Chrysostom stated, but rather He took the death that I justly deserve before a holy God.  John Calvin said it well,
By saying 'for everyone,' he means not only that Christ might be an example to others, as Chrysostom says, when he adduces the example of a physician taking the first taste of a bitter draught, that the patient may consent to drink it; he means rather that Christ died for us, and that by taking on Himself was was due to us, He redeemed us from the curse of death."
Death's sting, curse, and power have been destroyed by our Lord tasting death for us.  Look to Him today - rejoice in Him today.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

May this Thanksgiving find you rejoicing in our Savior God with expressions similar to those of our Puritan forefathers.

"O my God,

Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou has created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

See more puritan prayers in the book The Valley of Vision.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Ten Questions to Ask to Turn a Conversation Toward the Gospel

By Don Whitney

Many Christians suffer with unnecessary fears about sharing their faith. Once they finally get a conversation turned to the subject of the Gospel, however, most believers find that they're able to manage quite well. Much of the time the biggest problem is simply moving a conversation from small talk to "big" talk, the biggest subject of all—the Gospel. Here's a list of questions that can help. Some of them aren't original with me, though I don't recall where years ago I first heard the ones I've borrowed. I've found that the last one opens more doors for the Gospel in the widest variety of situations.

  1. When you die, if God says to you, "Why should I let you into Heaven?", what would you say? Are you interested in what the Bible says about your answer?
  2. If you were to die tonight, where do you think you would spend eternity? Why? Are you interested in what the Bible says about this?
  3. Do you think much about spiritual things?
  4. How is God involved in your life?
  5. How important is your faith to you?
  6. What has been your most meaningful spiritual experience?
  7. Do you find that your religious heritage answers your questions about life?
  8. Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs? If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it? Well, the Bible says . . . .
  9. To you, who is Jesus?
  10. I often like to pray for people I meet; how can I pray for you?
Copyright © 2002 Donald S. Whitney.

Copyright Disclaimer: All the information contained on the Center for Biblical Spirituality website is copyrighted by Donald S. Whitney. Permission granted to copy this material in its complete text only for not-for-profit use (sharing with a friend, church, school, Bible study, etc.) and including all copyright information. No portion of this website may be sold, distributed, published, edited, altered, changed, broadcast, or commercially exploited without the prior written permission from Donald S. Whitney.

Visit Don's website at

What the Church in America Needs

Check out The Gospel Coalition for more great resources.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day!  I just got back from the parade with my kids.  I found it difficult at times to hold back my tears as I saw and honored the men and women who drove by who had done such a service for our country.  I am truly thankful to our amazing Lord for the country that He has allowed me to live in.  Our government may not be perfect, but at the same time it has a lot to commend it.  Our freedoms did not come easily or peacefully and I truly want to express my gratitude for those who strive and have striven to protect this land.  I pray we use our freemdoms and prosperity to further the fame of the name of Jesus Christ in this world.  One day there will be a perfect "government" - when our Lord Jesus reigns visibly over all of creation.  Until that day we are called to occupy until He comes or calls us home.

Below is a short documentary from the History Channel on the story behind the date we use to honor our veterans, November 11.

Thank you veterans.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hebrews 2:1-4 - The Danger of Drifting Away

We hear lots of warning in life and many of them we don’t pay much attention to - cigarettes; STD’s; speed limits; wearing a helmet when cycling or on a motorcycle, etc… Many of these are ignored for various reasons and often have disastrous consequences.

In this post we are going to be reminded of a warning of a danger that is much more deadly than the ones we just mentioned. We are going to consider just how it is that we are going to keep from being another one of those who drifts away from salvation in Jesus Christ?

We’re looking at the book of Hebrews – and what we have seen so far is that God has spoken today through His Son Jesus and we have beheld the breath-taking superiority of Jesus Christ.

My goal from this text is to warn you of the danger of drifting away from God and to point you to your help.

Hebrews 2:1-4
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
 v. 1 - Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

We’re supposed to pay close attention to something – what is it? 1:1-2 – It is the message that God has spoken through His Son Jesus. God has given a message to us and we are supposed to pay attention to it.

Why is this message from Jesus such a big deal? Why is it a bigger deal than a message from someone else? The clue is in the word “Therefore.”

Because God has spoken through Jesus – Jesus who is absolutely superior to anything or anyone else, including the mighty angels of God.

He is the heir of all things, God created the world through Him, He is the radiance of the glory of God, He is the exact imprint of God’s nature, He upholds the universe by the very word of His power (vv. 2-3).

In other words, he is someone worth listening to.

What could happen if we don’t pay close attention to Him (v. 1)? We could drift away from that message – the message of the Gospel.

The word drift away has the idea of being in a ship and being carried past a safe anchorage by a current or the wind.

Here the idea is that we could drift away from the safe harbor of salvation in Jesus Christ if we don’t pay much closer attention to that message. And not just closer attention – much closer attention.

Come on, let’s be serious – is there really any danger of any of you reading this post drifting away from this message?!?

The answer is “Yes!” I’ve seen it over and over again. This is serious – this is deadly.

Look at verse 2 – For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution – Do you see what that’s saying?

God’s message in the past wasn’t always taken seriously – and think about the consequences.

God had sent his angels to bring His word to man (Exodus 23:20-23). He promised to bless them if the obeyed His voice – and to curse them if they disobeyed His voice.

Look at Deuteronomy 28 – especially verse 1 & verse 15. Did the blessing for obedienc and the cursing for disobedience happen to Israel? We know from history that it did (look at Judges 2:11-15).

God is serious. Disobedience has serious consequences. It receives the just penalty. 

And do you see what the writer of Hebrews is saying?

If they didn’t escape – how can we expect to (v. 3)??? And their message was a message given to them by angels – our message was given by the almighty, superior Son of God Himself.

You might be saying at this point, “Okay, Ryan, but I’ve trusted in Jesus as my Savior. I’m right with God.”

BUT – what does the text say? We are called to pay much closer attention. And the danger for us is that we’ll neglect this great salvation.

A common mentality for many people is, “I’ll get serious about God later.” And this is exactly what this idea of neglect has in mind. To neglect means “to pay no attention to” or “to be unconcerned about.”

The Hebrew Christians were not “rejecting” the Gospel – but were in danger of minimizing it’s influence in their lives. They would have said, “Yes, I’m a Christian” – but in reality it was not that big of a deal in their lives.

And remember just what verses 3 & 4 say about this Gospel message – it was given by Jesus Christ, it was spread by eye witnesses, and God Himself gave evidence upon evidence that it was true and extremely important.

This Gospel isn’t some little hidden or secret message. It’s not like the founder of this religion was out in the woods with his head in a bowl receiving some private revelation from “god.” It was big – it was out in the open – it was noticed by people in all levels of society.

Many have tried to disprove it through the years – but none have been ultimately successful – and by God’s grace some who spent years trying to disprove it have themselves come to faith in the Son of God.

But what about you? More than likely if you’re taking the time to read this post you are not actively rejecting the message of Jesus Christ – BUT – are you neglecting it? Are you fighting the temptations of your own desires and the very air of the culture around you to minimize the implications of the Gospel on your life?

I would challenge you to rehearse this Gospel every single day – PAY MUCH CLOSER ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD.

(GOD) Get up in the morning and remind yourself of the greatness and holiness of God.

That this God made everything that you can see w/your eyes, everything you can taste with your tongue, everything you touch or smell.  This is the God who has no evil – He is absolutely righteous in all He does and says.

(SIN) Remind yourself of your failure to honor God and obey His laws. Remind yourself that your tendency is to do the wrong thing and that you have no goodness of your own.

(CHRIST) Then remind yourself of this amazing God who sent His Son to be the payment for your sins. That God’s love and mercy led Him to send His Son to live the life we are unable to live, and that we refuse to live, and that He died on the cross taking the judgment that we deserve – and then was raised from the dead to give us new life.

(RESPONSE) And then repent afresh and trust in Christ. Acknowledge your need to live God’s way and not your own. Acknowledge your sinful rebellion and again place your trust in this Jesus who died paying the penalty for your sin and who rose from the dead.

Beloved – rehearse this every day. Pay much closer attention, lest you drift away.

Hebrews 1:4-14 - Will the Real Jesus Please Remain Seated?!?

Who is this Jesus? We saw in the last post that He is the Revealer, the Heir, the Creator, the Radiance of the Glory of God, the very Image of God, the Sustainer of the universe, Purifier of God’s people, and He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. This is Jesus.

Hebrews 1:4-14 -
having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? 6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” 13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
Who is Jesus? He is someone who is so much better than even mighty angels. Let’s just work our way through the text and see in what way He is so much better.

v. 4 – He has a more excellent name – i.e. “Son” – this denotes a more intimate family relationship

v. 5 – terms “Son” and “Father” are used repeatedly. This is quoted from Psalm 2 & 2 Samuel 7 - Jesus is the only one that could fulfill the promise to David that God would make a Son for Himself from the offspring of David. Solomon failed to keep the Law and so his kingdom did not last, but Jesus kept God’s law perfectly. He is the perfect Son for the perfect Father.

v. 6 – Jesus is said to be the “Firstborn” – this is the preeminent position in a family – receiving a double portion of the inheritance.

Also in v. 6 we see that these mighty angels - (who were even called “gods” in the OT – Job 1:6; Deut 32:43) - these mighty beings are called to worship Jesus the Son, because He is God. He is infinitely more excellent than they.

v. 7 – Angels are amazing – they beings mightily used by God.

vv. 8-9 – BUT not compared to the eternal, reigning, righteous, joyful King Jesus.

v. 10-12 – This is the Jesus that made everything and although this temporal creation will all wear out, He lives reigning forever and ever.

v. 13 – This is the Jesus who alone has the position of power and privilege at God’s right hand

v. 14 – The angels have a place – it is to serve believers – the ones inheriting salvation from God – yet how can you compare any angel or man to this Jesus the Son of God?!?!

This is who God in His word declare Jesus to be. And everyone believes this right? Let me just give you a quick comparison to a few other religious views of Jesus.

Islam – Muslim views of Jesus:
1. Jesus was created and not eternal
2. Jesus was merely a created human
3. Jesus is not the Lamb of God who was slain
4. Jesus is not the way of salvation for mankind – the five pillars of Islam are the way
5. Jesus was never crucified and therefore was not resurrected
6. Jesus cannot be worshipped
7. Jesus is simply another prophet of God
8. Jesus will die forty years after his return
9. Jesus is never said to love the world

Mormon views of Jesus:
1. Jesus is the literal son of god and his goddess wife – he was born through physical sexual relations with Mary.
2. Jesus is the brother of all spirits born in heaven – he is even the spirit brother of Lucifer
3. Jesus was married and had wives
4. Jesus is only a God – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate gods.
5. Jesus is not to be worshipped and is not called God – (prayer is never addressed to Jesus Christ – prayers are made in his name but are addressed to the “Heavenly Father” – and do not go through Jesus)

Jehovah’s Witness views of Jesus:
1. Jesus is the first creation – the only begotten Son of God – there is only one God in one person
2. Jesus was Michael the archangel who became a man
3. Jesus was only a perfect man, not God in the flesh
4. Jesus did not rise from the dead in a physical body – but only a spirit
5. Jesus was born again
6. Jesus did not die on a cross but on a stake
7. Jesus alone cannot save us but we need faith and good works
8. Jesus was not entrusted with the duty to oversee the creation of the earth, Satan was.

Are these views compatible with the biblical view of Jesus? No. Jesus is not these things and He is not merely your “buddy” and “pal” who helps you through tough times. He’s not your “homey” or your “home-boy”.

No – He is God of very God – and He is worthy of your adoration, trust, and submission. He is what your life is to be all about. And He is worthy of that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hebrews 1:1-3 - The Incomparable Jesus

I'm starting my way through Hebrews on Wednesday nights and hope to post much of the lessons here.  As I begin this study, I am again blown away by the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Truly He is worthy of our worship.

Hebrews 1:1-3 - [1 :1] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, [2 ] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. [3 ] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
Truly Jesus has...
1. Superior Revelation (vv. 1-2a)
[1 :1] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, [2 ] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son
-vs- our inner “feelings” let alone the Old Testament. All that God did and revealed in the old days (OT) pointed to and prepared for what we have now in these last days. Jesus has come and has brought us understanding of what God’s design is for us all. He alone is worthy to reveal and carry out the will of God (Revelation 5).
Acts 4:12 - And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Also, there is a great danger that we might simply trust our own judgments and feelings.  But remember, we are fallen, finite, sinful creatures that need help from the outside.  This is what God has provided.  He has revealed Himself to us by His Son.
There is a God – and He has spoken. If you want to know Him, you come through His Son. Do you doubt Him? Spend some time considering the incomparable Jesus Christ.
2. Superior inheritance (v. 2b)
whom he appointed the heir of all things
-vs- our inheritance – What might you inherit? (money, land, house, dishes, etc…)
Psalm 2 – (read it!)
Colossians 1:16 - For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
3. Superior beginning (v. 2c)
through whom also he created the world
-vs- our beginning – How old are you? I’m 38 years old. How does that compare to the one who created everything???
John 1:3 - All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Colossians 1:16 - For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
This is the God who has no beginning – He is the beginning for everything else.
4. Superior glory (v.3a)
He is the radiance of the glory of God
-vs- our glory – Who do you think is the greatest?  The greatest in whatever category you want to choose.  Compare that person to Christ - there is no comparison!
2 Corinthians 4:4-6 - In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
5. Superior image (v. 3b)
the exact imprint of his nature
-vs- our image – What do people think of you?
Colossians 1:15 - He is the image of the invisible God
John 14:9 - Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
6. Superior power (v. 3c)
and he upholds the universe by the word of his power
-vs- our power – What’s something you accomplished or built that you were pretty pleased with? (Me – I remodeled a bathroom remodel) Compare the work we do with blood, sweat and tears with Christ using His “word” – comparatively speaking we are powerless.
Colossians 1:17 - And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
7. Superior cleansing (v. 3d)
making purification for sins
-vs- our spiritual cleansing – We so often try to think we earn God’s approval by how we live and act, by our good deeds or obeying God. But Christ has done the work – the penalty is death (OT sacrificial system by the high priest)
Hebrews 9:12-14 - he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
8. Superior position (v. 3e)
he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
-vs- our positions – 1st chair in band, youngest/oldest in family, job, class president, popular, even President of the U.S.
Ephesians 1:20-21 - that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
This is the incomparable Jesus Christ. Nothing you could live your life for could possibly compare to living for Him – anything else could not even be placed on the scale to compare. Compared to this Jesus, all mankind put together is lighter than a breath (Psalm 62:9).
I invite you to join me as we come together on Wednesdays to consider this amazing Jesus Christ and His implications on your life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finding God's Will

Finding God's will for one's life is not some great mysterious thing.  Unfortunately many people misunderstand just what it means to "find God's will."  Kevin DeYoung does a good job of summing up how to to go about doing it - here's a good summary from his book Just Do Something: A Liberating approach to Finding God's Will:

Simply put, God's will is your growth in Christlikeness. God promises to work all things together for our good that we might be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). . . . God never assures us of health, success, or ease. But He promises us something even better: He promises to make us loving, pure, and humble like Christ. In short, God's will is that you and I get happy and holy in Jesus.

So go marry someone, provided you're equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it's not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God's sake start making some decisions in your life. Don't wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God's will, so just go out and do something. (61)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Is it Wrong for Men to Listen to Women Teachers?

Men's and women's roles within the church, as well as the home, are unfortunately often an area of controversy.  I say "unfortunately" because we have God's Word that spells out for us God's "mind" on the matter.  One great resource that lays a solid exegetical, biblical foundation is The Center for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood - and in particular the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which is available free in PDF format by following the preceding link.

I am also posting below the transcript of a question posed to Pastor John Piper and his answer.  He articulates well and succinctly what we should understand from the Scriptures.

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

The Question: I'm a guy. Is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?

John Piper's Answer: No. Unless you begin to become dependent on her as your shepherd—your pastor.

This is the way I feel about women speaking occasionally in Sunday school. We don't need to be picky on this. The Bible is clear that women shouldn't teach and have authority over men. In context, I think this means that women shouldn't be the authoritative teachers of the church—they shouldn't be elders. That is the way Rick Warren is understanding it, and most of us understand it that way.

This doesn't mean you can't learn from a woman, or that she is incompetent and can't think. It means that there is a certain dynamic between maleness and femaleness that when a woman begins to assume an authoritative teaching role in your life the manhood of a man and the womanhood of a woman is compromised.

What I just said is unbelievably controversial. There are thousands, even millions of people that think this idea is absolutely obscene. That is the language people used back in the 70's when I was fighting battles over biblical manhood and womanhood. It isn't obscene. It is recognized profoundly in a lot of young people today, as well as older people.

To the question of whether men should listen to a woman like Elisabeth Elliot—who was the Beth Moore of my generation. Elisabeth Elliot provoked students to be lay down your life missionaries. I love it! Sock it to them Elisabeth! She was so in your face about laying your life down and being radically obedient and totally committed. She was not a pastor, and she didn't even preach on Sunday mornings. She is my kind of lady. I can learn heaps from her.

I want to learn from my wife and I am happy to learn from Beth Moore. But I don't want to get into a relationship of listening or attending a church where a woman is becoming my pastor, my shepherd or my authority. I think that would be an unhealthy thing for a man to do. I could give reasons for that biblically, experientially and psychologically, but I have given the gist of it.

So the answer is, no it is not wrong for you to listen to Beth Moore, but it could become wrong. I think Beth Moore would be happy with that answer. I've talked to her about this, and I think she would be OK with what I've said. Our paths cross at the Passion Conference every now and then, and we talk.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Should the Church Entertain?

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

by Charles Spurgeon (edited)

An evil is in the 'professed' camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel'.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The 'concert' has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? "You are the salt of the world", not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When "many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him," I do not hear Him say, 'Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!'

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the 'gospel of amusement'. Their message is, "Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them... Don't touch their filthy things..." Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, 'Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are'.

No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today's church.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God's link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today's ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Date Night Tips

Some great date night tips from pastor Mark Driscoll. 
  1. Parents, if you can’t afford a sitter, is there a way to set up a rotation with three other families to take turns each week watching kids for date night?
  2. Husbands, when is your date night? Your wife needs it. You do, too. Grace and I have enjoyed Friday date nights for about 20 years.
  3. Husbands, don’t waste every date night at a movie where you can’t talk. Use the time to visit with your wife, draw her out, and study her like you do the Bible.
  4. Husbands, plan out your date nights. Ask you wife in advance what sounds good, see what your options are, and make a plan. She’ll be thankful.
  5. Date night killers: no plan, selfishness, laziness, letting technology keep interrupting, and doing the same old predictable thing.
  6. Time with other couples now and then is OK, but if most date nights involve other people, there is likely an intimacy disconnect in the marriage.
  7. Dads, moms who stay home all day with the kids need to get dressed up, taken out, and have some adult conversation with their husbuddy.
  8. Husbands, what can you do to find some creative ways to make date night fun and endearing even on a tight budget?
  9. Husbands, what can you start doing days or hours before date night to build the expectation of connection with your wife? Flowers, cards, calls, texts?
  10. When life gets crazy, the kids are sick, etc. is there any way to sneak in a bit of a date night at home with say a soak in the tub together, glass of wine etc. after the kids go to sleep?
  11. Sometimes sending the kids out to someone’s house and having a date night at home can be cheap and fun if planned right.
  12. Men, you don’t pursue a woman to marry her and stop pursuing her. You pursue a woman to marry her and pursue her with more passion and creativity than ever. How’s it going husbands?
  13. Men, you don’t need to understand women. You will be doing better than most men to understand just one woman. Date nights are to ask inviting questions, listen, and learn about her. It’s also a night to open up and let her do the same.
  14. Men, if you don’t date your wife, someone else may eventually volunteer for the job.
  15. Ladies, sometimes it’s a great gift to go into your husband’s world for a date night by doing something like putting on a jersey going to a game and eating a hot dog. His love language may just be hot dog.
  16. Men: find a shirt with buttons, try two eyebrows instead of one, find a breath mint or 20, show up with a gift, don’t ogle other women, and go to a restaurant that does not have a spork.
  17. Sometimes the best date night is date breakfast, date lunch, or surprise pick up your spouse from work for an hour at a hotel.
Another resource I'd highly recommend for men is C.J. Mahaney's Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God.  We need to remember that our marriages were designed by our Lord to be a picture of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33), therefore the health of our marriages is truly tied to God's glory.  Let's constantly pray and work to be pursuing our spouses for our joy and God's glory!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Our New Baby!

Yesterday - Thursday July 29 - at 1:04am Adilee Sue Galdamez was born.  What a blessing!  It's amazing how impatient one can become as they await the arrival of these little bundles.  Shelly and Adilee are doing are doing great.  She came in at 6 lbs, 10.4 ozs, and 20 1/4 inches long. 

It's amazing how choked up I get when I see my children for the first time.  You'd think after six it would be old hat but it's not.  Each of my kiddos is such an individual person and a blessing.  They are great reminders of God's abounding grace to me in Christ.  Now may He draw each of their hearts to see and savor His glory!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adopting an Unreached People Group

As a follow up to yesterday's post I thought I'd include some steps that our church, or any church, can take as they move toward adopting an unreached people group.  This list is taken from the International Mission Board's website - - and a link to a more extensive PDF version of this list can be found on their site (click here to be taken to the PDF version).

1. Pray for God’s guidance

2. Discover your church’s natural affinity (DNA)

3. Determine the church’s expectations for adoption

4. Work with church leaders and identify a mission “champion”

5. Investigate opportunities

6. When God directs you to a specific unreached people group, pray and celebrate God’s direction.

7. Communicate, follow through and keep your commitments.
Please pray with me as we seek to honor our Lord and win the lost.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Brushes of God's Painting

I have begun dreaming, hoping and praying that our church, Grace Baptist, would move to "adopt" an unreached people group (UPG) in the 10/40 Window (Revelation 5:9) - specifically joining our missionary brothers and sisters in the Pacific Rim.  I would love to see us labor and give by God's grace and not give up until we see a reproducing church planted in each UPG.  Although I have some ideas as to how to go about this, I readily admit that I don't have all that many answers.  Sankie and I met with Jim and Chris last week and talked about this vision and we are all praying that it will come to bear fruit.

The glory of God is the supreme value in all the universe (Isaiah 40:12-31) and we have been created for His glory (Isaiah 43:6-7; 1 Corinthians 10:31).  What a joy and privilege we have to join this amazing God as He saves a people "to the praise of His glorious grace" (Ephesians 1:6).  Take a moment to consider this quote from pastor John Piper which he stated in a message entitled "The Unfathomable Riches of Christ, for All Peoples, Above All Powers, Through the Church."

Picture in your mind a great, wise painter, painting on a huge canvas with many brushes, most of them very ordinary and messy. The painter is God, so you can't picture him. He's invisible. But he intends for his painting to be the visible display of his wisdom. He knows people can't see him, but he wants his wisdom to be seen and admired. His canvas is huge. It's the size of the created universe. I know you can't really imagine looking at that canvas because you are in it. But do your best.

And God is painting with thousands and thousands of colors and shades and textures—a picture as big as the universe and as old as creation and as lasting as eternity—a picture we call history, with the central drama being the preparation, salvation, and formation of the church of Jesus Christ. And he is using thousands of different brushes, most of them very ordinary and very small because every minute detail is crucial in this painting, to display the wisdom of the Painter. These brushes are God's missionaries.

I would add that these brushes also include God's faithful children who stand behind those missionaries through their prayers, financial support, and encouragement.  Please pray with me and Sankie as we seek to move, by God's grace, in this direction.

For His fame,


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hudson Taylor and Resting in Christ

I want to commend to you the book, Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret.  We assigned it again this summer for our interns.  As we began to our discussion last week I was again struck by the truth of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ alone and my need not to strive but simply to restfully trust.  Here are a few quotes I sent to my brother in the Lord, Jonathan, as he serves in Ethiopia:

I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation - but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me.

But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One. As I read, I saw it all! "If we believe not, he abideth faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, "I will never leave thee." "Ah, there is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to abide with me - never to leave me, never to fail me?" And, dearie, He never will.

And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith how happy I have been! I wish I could tell you about it, instead of writing. I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead and buried with Christ - aye and risen too! And now Christ lives in me, and "the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Oh, to live in that conscious reality. The supremacy and sufficiency of Christ alone. I hope and pray that we expereince this type of rest and joy in the reality of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Looking to Him,


Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Prodigal

I have been being blessed more and more lately by the music ministry of Soverign Grace.  Rarely today do we find such depth of truth, accuracy, and heart-felt worship.  I listened to and watched this music video this morning and it left me tearing up and praising my amazing God for His grace found in His Son.  I commend it to anyone for their humiliation and edification.

Here are the lyrics:

You held out Your arms, I walked away
Insolent I spurned Your face
Squandering the gifts You gave to me
Holding close forbidden things
Destitute a rebel still, a fool in all my pride
The world I once enjoyed is death to me
No joy, no hope, no life

Where now are the friends, that I had bought
Gone with every penny lost
What hope could there be for such as I
Sold out to a world of lies
Oh, to see Your face again, it seems so distant now
Could it be that You would take me back
A servant in Your house

You held out Your arms, I see them still
You never left, You never will
Running to embrace me, now I know
Your cords of love will always hold
Mercy’s robe, a ring of grace
Such favor undeserved
You sing over me and celebrate
The rebel now Your child

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friendships - Proverbs, part 5

Why do you spend time with the friends you have? Think about this for a moment. Why?

None of us wants to be lonely. In fact we know from Scripture that God made us to be in relationship.

What did God say after He made Adam? “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So relationships are God’s idea. I mean think about it, when God saves us as individuals he saves us into something. What is that something? Answer: The church – the assembled/called out people of God. We are not saved to just go on our merry way all by ourselves, but rather we are called into a people, a family who are to seek to glorify God together.

So our relationships are important to God and they should be important to us.

Well let’s spend a bit of time gaining God’s wisdom for our lives in the area of friendships. Remember, this is God’s idea and it was meant for our good and His glory, so we would do well to listen to Him.

The Influence of Friends

First we are going to talk about the influence of friends. How much do you think your friendships influence you? Often our style of dress, the activities we engage in, the places we go, and the values we hold are being shaped by our relationships and we may not even realize it.

God knows that who we spend time with will influence us. Consider these texts:

Prov. 28:7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.

Prov. 29:3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

Prov. 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Prov. 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

1 Cor. 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

In short – you will be influenced by who you spend time with. So, how should this affect how you choose friends?

Characteristics of Friends

Now, let’s think about characteristics of friends. What makes a good or bad friend?

Consider these verses:

Prov. 27:10a Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend.
They stick with you. This is not always easy. What about when you do something wrong or embarrassing, will they still be by your side. A good friend sticks with you.

Prov. 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
They forgive real offenses. Do friends sometimes do things wrong? Yes. A good friend will try to salvage a relationship and forgive.

Prov. 24:28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.
A good friend is honest. They won’t speak against you without a good reason.

Prov. 27:5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
A good friend will get in your face when you need it. They’ll do what’s good for you, not merely tell you what you want to hear. I am right now reaching out to a friend who I’ve discovered is struggling with pornography. I could easily turn my head and ignore it but I care too much for him.

Prov. 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
A good friend gives good counsel. Think about your friendships, are the things your friends are telling you to do good or not?

Heb. 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Heb. 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

A good friend will point you away from the deceitfulness of sin, will point you to Christ, to living for what really matters.

The Goal of Friends

Lastly, let’s think about the goal of friends. Have you ever thought about this? Have you ever stopped to consider that you should be intentional as a friend?  I think we usually just have friends because we enjoy being with them. But, is this really all it’s about? Is there no higher purpose?

Let’s back this up to the bigger picture. What is our goal supposed to be for everything in life? Answer: to glorify God! So, should your friendships be any different?

How can you glorify God in friendships? Look back at the verses from Hebrews. What do we see? Exhorting away from sin – stirring up to love and good deeds – meeting together with the purpose of pointing to Christ and His return.

What about you?

Are you intentional in your relationships? Or are you just there for what you can get out of it? Really think about this.

Maybe you need to repent concerning how you’ve been handling relationships. Probably most of you need this. You need to again see how you’ve not walked in God’s way – you have sinned against Him. You need to recognize this and turn from it and again look to the cross of Christ – this amazing God-man who took our sins upon Himself and took God’s wrath in our place and then He rose from the dead to give us new life.

You see, God cares about your relationships. He cares about how you behave in relationships. Will you seek to glorify Him?

We need to remember that the book of Proverbs was written to help us live our lives in a way that pleases God and is profitable to us. Don’t be a fool. Be wise in your relationships.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Little Food For Your Soul

"The life of every Christian is filled with enough inconsistencies to disprove the Christian faith every day if it were based on our changed lives. The history of the church is littered not only with heresies and schisms but with crusades, inquisitions, and the justification of atrocities in the name of Christ. Yet in all of this we can point away from ourselves, individually and collectively, to "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) In fact, it is only by repenting of our spiritual pride and casting ourselves ever anew on God's mercy in his Son that we can become servants rather than masters of our neighbors" ~Michael Horton

Monday, March 22, 2010

Belief Test - Answers

Here are the answers to the "Belief Test" that I posted the other day.  Take a look and see how you did.

1. Agree or Disagree: The sign of a justified person is to say, “God have mercy upon me a sinner.”
(AGREE – We know this is true because it is a quote from the lips of Jesus in Luke 18:13-14. This cry is from one who has seen His sin in light of the holiness of God and is crying out for mercy. Jesus stated that the tax collector who proclaimed these words went home justified. One might argue that this is not “the sign” but it would seem from Jesus words that the attitude that lead the man to utter these words would indicate one who is justified.  What justified person would not utter these words?!?)

2. Agree or Disagree: There is no one who is righteous, no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God, there is no one who does good.
(AGREE – These are the very words of Scripture found in Romans 3:10-12. We have to line up our understanding of mankind with the Word of God and not let our own impressions guide us.)

3. Agree or Disagree: We are saved by grace after all that we can do.
(DISAGREE – This is in no way scriptural but rather is a teaching of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. We are saved by grace – period. There is nothing we can do – Ephesians 2:8-9. The saved person is one who has seen his sinfulness and the provision of God in Jesus Christ and responds by God’s grace in repentance and faith.)

4. Agree or Disagree: The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
(AGREE – Again, this is from the Bible - Jeremiah 17:9.)

5. Agree or Disagree: Salvation is for those who do absolutely nothing to help save themselves but simply trust in a God who justifies wicked people.
(AGREE – This teaching is found in Romans 4:5. This is the good news for desperately sinful people like us. You and I have nothing to offer God.)

6. Agree or Disagree: A Christian is someone who is simultaneously a saint and a sinner.
(AGREE – The Apostle Paul understood himself to be both a saint and a sinner. Check these references - Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15. Not only was Paul declared righteous in God’s sight and therefore a “holy-one” but he understood his remaining sinfulness that resided in him and clearly saw that he was still a sinner. Again, this is the Gospel – the good news that I stand before God not on my own merit but on Christ’s merit imputed to me.)

7. Agree or Disagree: No one can come to Jesus unless enabled to do so by the Father.
(AGREE – Jesus stated this in John 6:44. Left to our own devices we would continue in rebellion to God. We are saved by grace.)

8. Agree or Disagree: God will not deny His grace to those who do what lies within their power.
(DISAGREE – this is a medieval Roman Catholic belief – older version of “God helps those who help themselves.” This adds human effort to the work of Christ. Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all who believe – Hebrews 7:25.)

9. Agree or Disagree: Salvation does not depend on man’s choice or effort but on God’s mercy.
(AGREE – This is found in Romans 9:16. We want to add something to our salvation but God’s Word does not allow it. Read all of Romans 9-11. I love the way Paul concludes this section in 11:33-36. These teachings are too far above us and therefore should lead us to praise the One of infinite glory.)

10. Agree or Disagree: Even our good works are sinful and repugnant to God.
(AGREE – Isaiah 64:6 – We have nothing in ourselves to offer God. In fact anything we do that is not out of faith is sin, Romans 14:23. It is only through faith, by the cleansing of the Spirit, that we can offer anything to God that is acceptable.)

It is important to know what you believe and also why you believe it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Snow

Yesterday was the first day of spring and everyone was out with shorts and T-shirts..what a difference one day makes.  Here are some pics from today.

Why is Charys eating his head?  Noel was a big help in building our snowman.
Noel and Indiana Snowman.  Noel wasn't too sure that she liked the snow blowing in her face - but she sure was cute.

Elijah was trying to catch the snow on his tongue while the boys constructed a snow fort.

The girls made a bug.

Here's the finished product - pretty creative.  Charys has a bug collection for a school project and she's going to add a picture of her big bug.

Well, it's been a fun day.  Right now we're inside nice and warm and watching some "The Walton's."  Quality entertainment.

Keep your eyes on Christ,


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Belief Test

What do you believe? Many Christians may know how to speak “Christianese” but do they really know what the Scriptures teach. Each of these statements below represents what some people believe. Test your knowledge here by telling me whether you agree or disagree with each of these statements. Try to answer them quickly and don’t get help from anyone else. Send me an email with your answers or post them in the comments section. I’ll post the answers next week.

1. Agree or Disagree: The sign of a justified person is to say, “God have mercy upon me a sinner.”

2. Agree or Disagree: There is no one who is righteous, no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God, there is no one who does good.

3. Agree or Disagree: We are saved by grace after all that we can do.

4. Agree or Disagree: The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

5. Agree or Disagree: Salvation is for those who do absolutely nothing to help save themselves but simply trust in a God who justifies wicked people.

6. Agree or Disagree: A Christian is someone who is simultaneously a saint and a sinner.

7. Agree or Disagree: No one can come to Jesus unless enabled to do so by the Father.

8. Agree or Disagree: God will not deny His grace to those who do what lies within their power.

9. Agree or Disagree: Salvation does not depend on man’s choice or effort but on God’s mercy.

10. Agree or Disagree: Even our good works are sinful and repugnant to God.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Church Victorious?

What is your church like?  Much of the modern church has been described as being 1,000 miles wide and an inch deep.  But what about you and your church?  This does not necessarily mean that your church has "great doctrine" or that you can quote the Westminster Shorter Catechism.  Rather, are you striving after Christ's Kingdom?  Is your church seeking to accomplish God's calling by relying on God's means in His power?

Take a few moments and consider this quote from Patrick Johnstone.  I think he may be on to something.

“We are being compelled to return to a much more biblical and radical position – that of being a minority in the world but not of it… The church deprived of political power is free from the burden of trying to use human power to dominate and influence the world… Our reference point is not territorial or church growth aggrandizement, but building a kingdom that is not of this world, yet which will fill the earth as a contrasting alternative society. We need to return to the concept of a pilgrim church, the church will be hated, rejected, despised, persecuted, yet be an incisive, decisive, victorious minority which one day soon, will be ready for its heavenly Bridegroom as the perfected Bride.”*

Wow - "hated, rejected, despised, persecuted" - these are difficult terms for us Americans to grapple with.  But again, take a moment to think on this.  Is this not what we see in the New Testament?  Were not the disciples building an "alternative society" that was often quite unpopular.  Maybe we need to spend a bit more time getting ready to meet our Bridegroom rather than building programs, and buildings, and lives that will not last.

When I was a teenager in rebellion my dad wrote something in the front of a Bible that he gave me that has continued to call me forward.  He said that it was written in the front of the chapel where he went to boarding school.  He wrote,

Only one life, twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ will last.

There is a lot of truth in that little rhyme.  Oh that our Lord would burn it deeply on my heart and mind.  He is returning.  He will reign supreme.  Don't waste your life on superficial pursuits.  "All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord; and shall glorify your name" (Psalm 86:9).

Christian, don't fight it.  God will be glorified.  Joyfully, willingly engage in what really matters and what will last.

With you in the fight,


*Patrick Johnstone, The Church is Bigger than You Think, 263.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spurgeon Biography in Rhyme

Here's a new twist for the "Prince of Preachers" - the hip hop life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon by Shai Linne.

Verse 1

Let me make this plain kids- God is the greatest

He never changes- His ways are blameless

For His own glory and at different stages

He raises up servants to make His name famous

I’ll highlight one particular servant for

The purpose of encouraging your worship to the Lord

Furthermore, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born

On the outskirts of London- 1834

His dad and his grandpa were both in the ministry

His mother was praying for his soul since his infancy

Naturally intelligent, rapidly developing

But lacking Jesus’ fellowship, that would be irrelevant

The God of his mother unknown

Though Christ was up in his home, the faith just wasn’t his own

The Lord answered prayer when at the age of 10

Young Charles became convinced of the wages of sin

For the next five years, the Spirit brought conviction

Terrors and affliction, aware of his condition

One Sunday morning though- the stormiest snow

Kept Charles from going in the church he’d normally go

Randomly stepped into a church

Heard the words “Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth”

And though only heaven knows the name of the preacher

That’s the day that Spurgeon became a believer

Verse 2

The Lord is so merciful, always so purposeful

Those whom He draws find His call irreversible

Immediately after Spurgeon’s conversion

Obediently, he was earnest to serve Him

The Lord poured His Spirit on Spurgeon abundantly

Anyone could see that he spoke with profundity

Extraordinary giftedness seen

Proclaiming God’s mysteries at the age of fifteen

In a place called Waterbeach graced with the sort of speech

That even made the old folks say, “This boy can preach!”

In fact he was so crafted after the Master

A Baptist church snatched him and asked him to pastor

At the time, He was seventeen years old

On fire for the King who redeemed his soul

People flocked from everywhere- it was quite a scene

Called to a church in London at the age of nineteen

He was more than ready- to his Lord he was dedicated

Even though he was never formally educated

If you would have scratched him, he would bleed Bible

A rich prayer life was his means of survival

Amount that he read was truly mind-blowing

Steeped in the writings of dudes like John Owen

And by God’s grace He fed the sheep new manna

In London met his wife, her name was Susannah

Verse 3

Behold the grace of God- stand to the side

The Spirit exalting the Lamb who has died

It can’t be denied- this man we describe

Was simply a tool in the hand of his God

To observe this servant’s extremely instructive

One word about Spurgeon is he was productive

Preached Jesus- no speakers- loudly he’d shout it

Each week packed houses of crowds in the thousands

His sermons were published- sixty-two volumes

He worked almost like he just knew he would die soon

Made mad disciples, passed on his knowledge

Established a school to train pastors in college

Sold out to the Lord Jehovah, his portion

Also he built two homes for the orphans

A monthly magazine, plus he wasn’t too busy

to write books- about a hundred and fifty

God’s grace in Spurgeon was manifest

But remember, the best man is a man at best

Yes, he struggled with depression- consistently sick, kid

Both he and Susannah physically afflicted

He experienced as a servant of Jesus

The power of God made perfect in weakness

Later on comes complications

His stands for orthodoxy got him shunned by his denomination

But through all the hardship and all the controversy

He never stopped relying on the sovereign God of mercy

And when he had finished pressing towards the goal

He entered into heaven at the age of fifty-seven

His life is a case of God’s grace effectively

At work in sinners to leave a great legacy

The proof is many years later in your speakers

We’re praising Jesus for raising up the "prince of preachers"

Why is God's God-Centeredness Good News?

Many of us have little problem believing that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.  But what about God's chief end?  What is God all about?  What would you say if I said that God's chief end was to glorify God and enjoy himself forever?  Is this true?  Is this good news?  I think it is.

"God's first love is rooted in the value of his holy name, not the value of a sinful people.  And because it is, there is hope for the sinful people - since they are not the ground of their salvation, God's name is."*

Psalm 106:7-8 Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.  Yet he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make known his mighty power.

1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Rejoice and be glad that the foundation of your salvation rests in the name of God and not in yourself.  In Him there is great hope for me and you.


*Taken from The Pleasures of God by John Piper

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good Advice

A few months before his death at age twenty-nine in 1747, David Brainerd, the missionary to the Indians in New England, wrote to a young ministerial candidate, "Give yourself to prayer, to reading and meditation on divine truths: strive to penetrate to the bottom of them and never be content with a superficial knowledge."*

What great advice not only for a young ministerial candidate but for all of God's people.  How much more rich our lives would be, how much more the cause of Christ would advance, how much more glory would God receive if His children actually practiced this.

Striving along side you to be less content,


*Taken from The Pleasures of God by John Piper

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Sluggard - Proverbs, part 3

What are your ambitions in life? Not necessarily your “dream” life, but when you look back at the end of your life, what would have been a good life, a life well lived?  Career, home, family, involvement in the Great Commission, etc…? We are surrounded by a culture that holds out a great many things but seems to be training us to pursue and value leisure rather than diligence.

We can probably all think of examples of how our culture worships leisure.  Consider these examples: the new movie Avatar grossed $2,467,962,011; The Dark Knight - $1,022,345,358; the video game Grand Theft Auto IV earned $500-million in its first week of release; Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock was the first video game to exceed $1 billion in sales.  These numbers are staggering.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these things. Rest, relaxation, and entertainment are good things. But is rest, relaxation, and leisure what life is all about? Is it true that the best things in life are free?

We are going to consider the sluggard in the book of Proverbs. Let’s see if we can discern his characteristics and the outcomes from his/her life. I think our Lord has something to tell us about our pursuit of relaxation from the life of the sluggard.

"Sluggard" Proverbs:

Proverbs 6:6-11 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Proverbs 10:26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 15:19 The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.

Proverbs 18:9 Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys

Proverbs 19:24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.

Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.

Proverbs 21:25-26 The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. 26 All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back

Proverbs 26:13-16 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. 15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

So, what characteristics did you see?  Here are some I found:
Characteristics: lacks self control; has no initiative, not a self-motivated person; lacks long-range planning; focuses on the immediate; has great desires/cravings; foolish; lazy; no follow through, doesn’t finish what he starts (even when he’s gotten up the energy to actually start something); doesn’t do the work it takes to get the desired result; chooses to be this way, he refuses to work – it is a conscious choice; unrighteous; makes lame excuses; has an unhealthy love of sleep and rest, won’t get out of bed; arrogant; procrastinator; distracted/not diligent; wastes opportunity after opportunity; prefers laziness to labor; wants an easy life rather than one spent doing good.

What about results?  Did you see the outcome of the life of the sluggard?
Results: has a lack of resources ($, skills, opportunity, etc…); harms those around him – disastrous to an employer; brings ruin to whatever he’s involved in; poverty; does not get what he wants in life; has nothing to fill his great desires; has a painful, difficult life; is unable to help others since he can’t even help himself.

Lessons Learned from the sluggard

So, what can we learn from the life of the sluggard?  Many things, but consider these five:

1. Work is an appointed part of a godly life – Colossians 3:23-24, 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

2. Work is not a result of the fall of mankind into sin. Even before the fall man had work appointed to him – Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”; 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

3. Purposeful work is a good gift from God.

4. We should not adopt the view of our culture – despising our work and worshipping our leisure.

5. We reflect the character of God in work by caring for others, in producing things, and in being purposeful in our actions. Your work is to take what God has made and shape it and use it to make Him look great. You were created in God’s image to image Him forth in this world.

My Story

Let me close with a personal example from my life. I spent the first twenty years of my life, in many ways, exemplifying the sluggard. I lived for pleasure; I lived for myself. I squandered my education and did not learn the things that I could have. As a result I had a lower ACT score and did not get any scholarships to college. My freshman year in college was spent in partying and trying to avoid any responsibility and my grades greatly reflected this.

In short, I was wasting my life. I was no good for myself, and I was no good for anyone else. I had great aspirations for a full life but in reality the outlook was pretty bleak, and yet I couldn’t even see it. I just figured that it would eventually work itself out. I was a sluggard.

It was right around the time of my twentieth birthday, in January of 1992, that God took mercy on me and changed me. It was then that He called me to see the waste of my life and to see the treasure of His Son, Who had died and rose again for my salvation. With this my life had new meaning and direction. I knew that I was privileged to spend my life living to know Him and to make Him known. Although definitely not perfectly, I began to study and work to honor God with my education. By His grace I was able to not squander the rest of my education and went from almost failing to graduating with honors.  I don't say this to brag in any way but rather to highlight the great mercy and grace of our God.  He alone gets the glory; if left to myself my life would be in ruins.

The temptation to be slothful is always there for me and that is why I daily need Christ. He is my only hope before a holy God. I am immensely sinful and imperfect but He is my righteousness. He is the one who died to free me from sin’s penalty, to bring me new life, and set me free from sin’s mastery. As I look to Christ I see God’s calling for my life is infinitely better than my natural, sinful inclinations.

Knowing that this amazing God has set me free from sin and death, and now I want to invest my life in pleasing Him and being a blessing to others.

How will you live your life? What will be the sum total of your life’s value? Consider the ant, look to Christ, and then walk in the new life that He provides for your blessing and His glory.