Tuesday, December 06, 2011

On Reading Sermons

When you do so much reading it is difficult to join with you in what you are saying. Reading tends to keep your emotion and intonation out of your presence and voice. In the same way that affirmation brings the person you are affirming along with you and puts them on your side, so too does emotion in the message. The preacher needs to get fired up about what he is talking about and then that emotion needs to carry over into the listener and bring them along with where the preacher is going.

Reading tends to cause you to lose the congregation's attention because you lose eye contact, you tend to read in either a sing songy tone, or a monotonous tone, or with a steady speed. Speaking extemporaneously allows you to vary what you are saying to keep the flow interesting for the listener and to engage them in the subject. They want to hear what you are saying because they are caught up in what you care about, because you care about it, and they care about you.

Reading keeps your personality out of the message. Some think this is a good thing because, they say, it lets Jesus and not the preacher shine through. But that goes against the  Scriptural model. The Biblical preacher speaks for God, but each preacher is different because each one is also preaching. Isaiah is clearly not like Job. And Moses is clearly not like Paul. You can tell them apart because each man was also preaching. A preacher needs to let his own person shine through so the people can rally around him and come near to Christ with him. This can be done by a person reading most of his sermon, but only in rare circumstances and not for very long periods of time.

Friday, December 02, 2011

We Played the Flute and You Did Not Dance

Luke 7

If you are careful, when you read the bible, you will see two very stark differences between the world of the Bible and the world we live in. First is that the culture of the godless world is incredibly godless. They evil seems to be able to get no worse. People kill one another at the drop of a hat. Kings and princes rule with absolute authority and no one, other than someone equally terrible has anything to say or do with it. At least in our world, people are generally nice. You can disagree on almost any topic without worrying that the one you are talking to will kill you the moment you turn around.

The other stark difference is that the Godly are immeasurably more godly than we are. Christians and god fearers in both Testaments are regularly killed for their faith. They are tortured, they are sawn in two, they are crucified, they are starved, lose their homes, are spit upon, families leave them, you name it, they receive it gladly because they know they have a glorious home waiting for them with Christ. You could say that this only highlights the first point. But I bring it up to show that Christians in the first century believed the truth of the Gospel to the point where they would put up with any and every affront to their personhood to obtain what was promised.

Living Together In Faith

We call this part of the service, Communion, because that is what we do here. We commune. We eat, we drink, we fellowship with and in the Lord. We do it in a somber and controlled way. In the early church they used to have what they called “love feasts.” It sounds like they had a rollicking good time. In Corinth, they even had people drinking enough wine to get drunk and eating so much that they were accused of debauchery and gluttony. I think it would be good to figure out a way to make the service a serious feast in both senses of serious: seriously lavish, and seriously solempne, as CS Lewis coined the word.

The main point of the service is to remember that we are all one in Christ Jesus. Jesus died on the Cross for us, rose from the dead with us, and now sits at the right hand of the father on high, interceding for us.

With a sermon like the one we just experienced we may be tempted to think we aren’t worthy to participate in this sort of meal. But this is the best place to begin acting out our faith.

Do you believe that Jesus died for your sin, even your sin of unbelief? Then this table is for you.

Do you believe that Jesus lives so that you can live a new life, filled with the kind of life that many of the saints in history lived and in other parts of the world are living? Great! This meal if for you.

Do you believe that try as hard as you might, much of the time you just can’t get it right? And do you believe that that is precisely why you need an arbiter, an intercessor, and a mouthpiece? Do you believe that only Jesus can fulfill that role? Wonderful! This meal is for you. So, come and eat, come and drink.

The Bema Judgment

I recently was reacquainted with a doctrine called the “Bema Judgment of God.” The Bema judgment is the teaching that says that at the end of time, before the final judgment of God all men will be judged for what they have done in this life, whether good or sinful.

The teaching comes primarily from Romans 14:10 which says “we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” and 2 Cor. 5:10 which says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Everlasting God

O God, you are the everlasting God, you were before anything, and from you everything came. And because of you everything that lasts will last because you hold it in your hand and in you all things hold together.

O God, you are the everlasting God, you chose our father Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans and separated him from his relative and his land and brought him into a foreign land in order to create an everlasting covenant.

O God, you are the everlasting God, you sent your only Son to die in our place so that we could be included in that same covenant. You raised Jesus from the dead so that we could live new lives.

O God, you are the everlasting God, you chose us to continue the everlasting covenant into all eternity.

We come to you now, in the great Name of Jesus asking that you would accept our worship because he died for us and now intercedes on our behalf. We know fully that you are from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.

And so Everlasting Father, we worship You now through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end, amen.

Terminal Illness

At times like this it is good to remember that God is God. We/you don't have to do anything except wait on him and remember that he is God. Everything will work out the way he wants it to work out and everything will work out for his glory.

What I mean by times like this isn't the events that are happening all around you. I mean the results or affects that you can have in those events. These, in particular, are events whose results are totally outside your ability to control them. Nothing you can do, say, think, or feel will change anything. You can only rest in God's judgments, mercy and grace. You can only draw closer to him and wait and see what he's going to do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Radically Changed My Life

Leading this ministry has radically changed my life. It's dramatically impacting the hurting souls of men and women.
From Equipping Counselors for Your Church, by Robert Kellemen, p. 142.

Rejoice Before the Lord

And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters...
Deuteronomy 12:12

Members of One Another

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:4-5

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gives Grace to None But...

Martin Luther describes this good news: “God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead….He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace.”
Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, Rid of My Disgrace, p. 17
The Luther quote is from Martin Luther, The Seven Penitential Psalms, 1517

As I Have Loved You

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
John 13:34

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peace With One Another

Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
Mark 9:50

Marx's Greatest Error

This was Marx’s greatest error. He assumed the myth that the rich can only get rich at the expense of the poor. One man’s gain must spell another man’s loss. That may be true in a poker game, but not in the real world of business. With the increase of production by better tools, the cost per unit of goods declines (through the law of supply and demand). This makes it easier for people to receive the goods and services, and it raises the poor person’s standard of living. No economic system has been as effective as capitalism in raising the human standard of living.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 144.

Primarily a Savior

Paul's religion was based not on right ideas about God and His relations to the world, but upon one thing that God had done. Not upon an eternal truth, the Fatherhood of God, but upon the fact that God had chosen to become the Father of those who accept the redemption offered by Christ. The religion of Paul was rooted altogether in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. Jesus for Paul, was not primarily a revealer, but a Savior.
Gresham Machen

A Bit of News

There were lots of moral teachers in the ancient world, but Christianity was started not by lots of moral teachers in the ancient world, but by a bit of news." The news that He was born, suffered, raised, and ascended.
Gresham Machen

Recently Happened

The religion of Paul was a religion of redemption. It was founded not upon what had always been true but upon what had recently happened.
Gresham Machen

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Change for the Long Haul

Hello Pastor Elmore,

I hope this letter finds you doing well. I can give you some answers.

First, always remember that there is a higher right than being right. Love covers a multitude of wrong doctrine, immaturity, and sins. Let it do so.

Second, guard like the plague becoming tight shoed and getting your skivvies in a knot. The temptation, as your church studies doctrine, will be to become students of the word instead of  worshippers of God. Don't let that happen. Knowledge of God is only good as long as it is expressed in worship of God and devotion to one another.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Worried About Health

Worry is generally a situation where people take trust for the future out of God's hands and try to figure it out for themselves. But we are limited and can't see very far into the future and so we worry.

While it is true that we are all dying and that many of us will die of not very comfortable things, God is still using the circumstances in our lives to make us like Jesus. Last week's lecture pointed out that God often doesn't change our circumstances, but he will and does change how we think about those circumstances. Yesterday, our pastor preached through 1 Samuel 23 and noted that even though David was the rightful King of Israel, he was still hiding in the woods. He needed Jonathan to come and give him comfort. Did David have reason to worry? Well in the sense that he didn't know the future, yes. But in the sense that he knew the one who controls the future, no.

Worry is always a lack of trust that God has things under control. Either he does, or he doesn't. Either he loves us or he doesn't. He can be in control, and he can let us die of a terrible untreatable cancer, and he loves us, all at the same time. Colossians 2:6 says that we are to live our lives from day to day in the same way we came to Christ in the first place--by faith. 'Faith' is translated from the Greek word that is also translated 'belief' and 'trust.' When we walk by faith, we are living in a way that trusts whatever God has in store for us.

The only thing worry can do is to bring on the thing we tend to worry the most about--bad health. It robs our joy. It saps our strength. It makes us edgy. It gives us an excuse to be angry with God, which unrecognized turns into bitterness. And it makes us no fun to be around.

The end of Matthew 6 has a lot of good things to say about worry.

Whatever you do with your wife, to it gently and kindly. Relate with her in such a way that she will want to be like you, trusting in Jesus for every aspect of life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To This You Were Called

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9

Confession and Petition

Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.

Monday, September 12, 2011

All Things for Good

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 

Be Constant in Prayer

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep

First, there are no guarantees. Life is funny that way.

Second, I don't think you should be stressed out about keeping your husband out of sin. On the other hand, you would be his helpmeet to help him walk with God and not be a hindrance. This does not mean checking on him all the time, it means making his home a place where he wants to go and be.

Third, this can only come about by your walking with God. It is not burdensome (1 Jn. 5:3), it is a joy to be who God made you to be. Your being a lovely woman of God will help your husband to also walk with God. When you read 1 Peter 3 and see what a women is supposed to do with a husband who is not walking with God, the word is essentially, “stop trying to change him and just walk with God.”

Fourth, your husband's sin is his sin. It is not related to you in the sense that if you are pregnant and not as endearing as that twenty-year-old at the market, it is not because of your appearance that he strays, it is because of his mind and heart. If a man sins in a lustful way, it is not because his wife is ugly; it is because he is not satisfied with what God has given him. It is his sin, not her "shortcomings."

Fifth, just because a man enjoys looking at a beautiful woman does not mean that he is lusting after her. He may simply be enjoying God's creation. This does happen. There is much more going on than simply lust, want of ownership and desire to have sex. Sometimes, a guy can enjoy a beautiful woman in the same way he enjoys a beautiful sunset. God made them both and they are beautiful.

Finally, you may need to face the fact that you may not always be a physically beautiful woman. You may, I'm not saying that you won't. It’s just that the way the world works is that things, over time, sag. When a woman has children, their bodies do change. Sometimes they can't get that girlish figure back no matter what they do. The solution is to read your Bible and realize that physical beauty is not all that there is to real beauty. As the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep. But godliness is real beauty and is what you should be striving after. It is that kind of beauty that will be most attractive in the long term, especially to a godly man.

In making your home a joy for your husband to come home to, you should be concerned with the fruit of the Spirit, not the upholstery and the hangings. These things matter, but I would much rather come home to a cluttered home that is full of warmth and hugs than a home that is spic and span clean, but has no joy (those are not the only options). It is the same with you. It is good that you are beautiful, don't stop working on that, but if that isn't accompanied by a deep abiding godliness, things will fall all apart when you begin to show your age.

Just Stop It

The way the Bible views sin and the way the world views addictions is very different.  Repeated sin is just that repeated sin. It may be a habit, but it doesn't absolutely cause a person to do what he does. A habit is just a decision we make quicker. Pornography is no different. It scratches an itch for men and women. It fills a void in their lives. It gives something they aren't getting anywhere else. It is all false, idolatrous, sinful, shortsighted, and temporary, but it is not an addiction in the sense that the world thinks of addiction.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Break Up Without Being Devastated

Might I make an observation? It is virtually impossible to learn to be a good wife or Christian by participating in the dating world. That system prepares people for divorce not marriage. The only thing you really learn by dating is how to break up without being totally devastated. And this in turn makes marriage very difficult because you are learning to not give yourself totally. You can’t afford to give yourself in a dating situation if you might break up in a week, a month, or even a year. And this inability to give yourself will keep you from being real enough to actually get married. It taints every relationship, even your relationship with Christ. You have to always be on guard, to guard your heart from the chance of the pain of rejection, or even the pain of needing to do the rejecting.

The Right Lens

Hi George,

Your letter seems to be a little bit inward and self oriented. It is true that we need to examine ourselves, but we need to do it only after we’ve been examining the gracious, loving, and joyous God we serve. It is only then that we get an accurate picture of ourselves. His lens is very different from ours. He sees us through Christ and that is reality, not what we see when we look at ourselves without the right lenses on.

If we get things turned around, we become bound up, tied in a know, and joyless. We only see the terrible state we are in and only hope that God can do something with this useless piece of pot. But when we are able to take our eyes off of ourselves long enough to look into his glorious face and feel his pleasure, then when we look back at ourselves we more able to see Christ in us. Sure, we’re worthless, but we’re in Christ and he’s not worthless. That makes all the difference.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Fervent in Spirit

...not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;...
Romans 12:11

One of the Liveliest Places On Earth

Now this has direct implications for preaching and teaching. Those who are ministers of the Word must never consent to handle that Word in a truncated or wooden fashion. This conservative and safe fashion in preaching is neither conservative nor safe. A preacher must never behave as though he were an engineer trying to write a phone book. God speaks the eternal Word of God, our Lord Jesus. He created the universe through Him. The universe is God speaking, and this is how the universe declares His glory—the heavens and earth speak through being spoken. The pulpit should be one of the liveliest places on earth, because in it, words are imitating the Word. This should never be done for the sake of mere entertainment; it is to be done in obedience.
Douglas Wilson, The High Church Puritan

'In' Small But Important

Dear Mike,

I would also like to ask you what you think about remarrying the same man.

By the way, the man who believes that everybody will be saved in Christ often quotes the following passages: 1 Cor. 15:22, 1Tm 4:10, Col:1:20, Ef.1:10.


Hi Betty,

Deut. 24:1-4 says that a woman may not remarry her husband after he has married someone in between her first marriage and what would be the second with the same man. This probably had economic basis, but the fact remains that the Bible says that someone may remarry the same person, but only if there hasn't been a marriage in between the first and second marriage.

Friday, September 02, 2011

An Emotional Conclusion

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your answer very much! It was good to read it and it helped
me a lot.

Well, it is difficult for me to understand their beliefs - they believe that there
is hell but it is not a place of eternal torment. After some time everybody who
is there will be released and saved.


Hi again Betty,

Yes, that isn't Christian. It could be that they are simply immature and don't know what is going on. They need to hear the Gospel and believe in it. But I wouldn't let them join the church until they think through that simple but very important doctrine.

Universalism Does Not Save

Dear Mike,

I would like to ask you who can become a member of a church.

A married couple (baptized) with two children went to a church for three years. Then they finally decided to become members of this church. Yet, the church said they could not join them because of their religious beliefs (universalism) and they did not like the man's testimony - the man could not say that there had been one particular moment in his life when he was born again.

Betty from Boston

Hi Betty,

I would not have a problem with someone wanting to join the church if they could not pinpoint when they were saved. Many people can't name the day. It similar to knowing when the sun came up. You don't need to know when it came up to know that it came up. So someone who could not identify the exact moment of their salvation would not be a problem for me.

I would want to do a lot of questioning about that universalism thing, however. If by "universalism" they mean that they believe that God will save all mankind in Christ and they mean that they are standing on the promises of God in 1 Jn. 4:14 and other similar passages, I wouldn't have trouble with them joining.

O God, My God

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Psalm 43:3-4

No One Owns Anything

Under communism, as Marx envisioned it, everyone labors together for the common good and everyone owns everything. The problem, of course, is that when everyone owns everything, no one owns anything.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 142.

They Only Smell Skunk

One of the ways to check our motives in following God is to ask ourselves, what am I getting out of it? The Bible assumes that people are going to want to be blessed, just look at the beatitudes. "If you want to be first," Jesus said (Mk. 9:35). "If you want to be great," Jesus said (Mt. 5:19). The assumption is that people desire things for themselves and they want to be someone great.

If the answer to the question is I want to be great, because I want to be great. Or I want to be great because I'm the center of the universe, then you're going to have trouble with God. He wants to be first, biggest, and best. He is God and won't share that glory with another.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


When darkness reigned and dimmed the sky,
The stars knew not their seats on high.
The Sun had yet to spill her grace
On Earth’s broad span, the shadowed-place.
Then one light flashed and filled the gap,
And Darkness fled to dens unmap’d.
The Fauns and Satyrs found their way
From holes deep hid’, and hailed the day.
The winged-ones came from winds-retreat,
They sang delight at Dark’s defeat.
The gods ascended to great Mount Ida;
And sphinxes dwelt in south Al Minya.
The Kings arose and reigned with might;
The people passed the period of Night.
Mankind grew strong, and cared for life;
When Time decreed, they captured Strife
And did not let him loose again,
Till man-kind lost what might have been.
By Rachel Lawyer
An assignment to write a poem in the style of Beowulf 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The World is a Jungle

In short, Kant argues fro the Christian God on the basis that he must exist for eh5tics to be meaningful. Kant says that even if we cannot know that god exists, for practical purposes we must live “as if he exists for ethics and society to be possible. He anticipates Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim, “If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 131.

Outdo One Another

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:10

True Parental Wisdom

Wisdom is not made out of wood and neither are our children. When Christian parents seek to bring together wisdom and children, they must resist all wooden techniques. They must be wise themselves, and wisdom is supple. The only useful wood in the whole scenario is that of the spanking paddle, provided it is not applied by parents with wooden heads.
Douglas Wilson, Excused Absence, pg. 124.

The Green Thing!

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment." He was right—our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Receive What is Due

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10

Trust Forever

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:4

Caring for Others

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.
Romans 15:1-3

Abuse in the Name of Orthodoxy

This paragraph is quoted from Randy Booth’s article “Covenantal Antithesis”

A wooden hermeneutic, which artificially restricts the way in which a word or concept may be employed, often results in a failure to appreciate the richness of that word or concept as it is used in the Bible. Ironically, the stiff approach is often employed as if it were a tool of orthodoxy when, in fact, it becomes a means by which the Word of God is abused.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ain't Nothin Hid

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Proverbs 15:3

Speaking Nonesense

People are quite capable of speaking nonsense, but they cannot speak nonsense intelligibly.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 130.

The Snare of the Devil

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26

Goat Lobby

When Paul cites a similarly kind provision for animals, i.e., that an ox treading out the grain must not be muzzled, he makes a passing comment we would do well to note: “Is it oxen God is concerned about?” (1 Cor. 9:9, emphasis mine). A man could woodenly obey the law and have his oxen unmuzzled—“That’s what the law says,” he mutters—and that same man could refuse to support ministers of the Gospel financially. If he were to do so, he would be disobedient to the law that speaks of oxen only. Paul applies this Old Testament law to a New Testament situation. His method is to argue his point from the usual order of things (1 Cor. 9:7) and to argue it from the law (v. 8). So was this law concerning baby goats a random piece of Mosaic legislation in response to diligent activity by the goat lobby? Those who think so understand neither the Scriptures nor the kindness of God.
Douglas Wilson, The Case For Classical Christian Education, pg. 146.

For the Love of God

The first memory verse most of us learned when we became Christians was John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but should have everlasting life.”

But what does it all mean? What does it mean that God loved the world? What does it mean that he gave his only Son? What does it mean that if we believe in him we shall not perish? What does it mean that if we believe in him we will have everlasting, or eternal life?

There is another question I would like to answer in the process of answering the other questions, it is—Could God have secured our salvation in some other way? In other words, did God have to kill his own son to save us from death? Couldn’t God have just said something like, you’re free and we’re all friends again?

We need to know that everything God does is motivated by love. John said, “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). This means that whatever God does and for whatever reasons, everything he does is an act of love. But love does not just sit there contemplating the empty cosmos, basking in what might be. Love creates, it gives to the beloved. If it is not a giving, changing, active, and living entity, it is not love. Love changes things. Love is efficacious. Because God is love, he can do nothing that is not loving. And this includes our salvation. Paul said, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). And again, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5). His love is determinative. It has an end, a goal. God’s love is the cause and source of our salvation.

In fact, God’s love for his creation demanded that he save us, love required God to act on our behalf, love necessitated saving mankind. God was constrained by who he is, to save us from our terrible plight.

What this means, practically, is that God loves you. He knows all about you and your weaknesses. He knows all about your strengths, he knows every thought, every intention of your heart. He knows the words you are about to say. He knows what you will be doing later tonight. He even knows what you will be doing tomorrow. He knows about your skin problems, he knows about your emotional hang ups, he knows how many hairs there are on your head. And he knows it all because he cares for you. He loves you.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Pray For Your Pastor


Thank you very much for your help.

Should this pastor be told that he does not behave properly? Who should do it? There are only two pastors/elders in the church and the other pastor thinks everything is all right.


Turn Away From Evil

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
Proverbs 16:6

Descriptions are not Explanations

Describing an event, a process, or a motion does not necessarily explain it. Even if our descriptions come in the form of mathematical equations that yield a certain predictability, does that mean we have achieved knowledge of reality? Like Ptolemy’s geocentric system, our theories can “save the phenomena: without achieving accurate knowledge of reality.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 105.

You Don't Understand a Thing

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

Love Toward Another


Another question is : Can a pastor show his feelings publicly - e.g.tender embracing, hugging each other? He has known his girlfriend only for about three months.


Follow Me

But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matt. 16:23-25

Handling the Word of God

Hermeneutics, the art and science of interpretation, sounds to many like a horribly dusty affair. And of course, some have handled the subject along these lines. This is not how it should be; when the question of how a text is to be interpreted arises, we should feel a leaden weight in the gut, and adrenaline in the veins, as men feel before a battle. Of course we need to pay sound attention to our texts—but not as the scribes.

How we handle the Word of God has eternal consequences. If we trifle with the text, we are risking our own eternal salvation. Peter spoke of hermeneutics as a life and death issue; he noted that ignorant and unstable people twist the Scriptures, and that they do so to their own destruction. The word he used to describe the twisting is a word out of ancient torture chambers. The plain meaning of the text is put to the rack, and bizarre confessions are coerced from it. And unfortunately, to this day, when many self-appointed interpreters turn to their text, torture and mayhem are in the air.
Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk, pg. 199.

Pastors and Women

Dear Mike,

This time I would like to ask you if you think it is all right when a pastor goes on a two-week trip around the country only with his girlfriend.


Monday, August 08, 2011

Tyranny of the Majority

The law of nature should protect individuals from the tyranny of the majority. Here are the seeds of the distinction between a republic (where rule is by law) and a pure democracy (where rule is merely by the will of the people).
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 102.

Know the Name of God

Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD,
Psalm 9:10

God Is a Consuming Fire

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29

Addressing Difficult Cases

Second, in our discussion in the earlier section of another pastoral qualification (that an elder should be a one-woman-man), we noted that we are evaluating character, not counting rocks. The world is a messy place, and this is frequently hard on perfectionists. Thus, all questions flowing from weird circumstances not addressed in the text should be acknowledged to be anomalous and dealt with on a case-by-case basis. What about a pastor who adopts his fifteen-year-old nephew whose parents just died, and that nephew never comes to faith? What about a child fathered out of wedlock ten years before the father was converted and married? The man’s six legitimate children are all faithful Christians. My point is not that we should apply Paul’s requirements in a wooden manner, with our eyes tight shut, but rather that if we are careful to obey him in those areas which are clearly addressed in the text, we will have the wisdom necessary when we come to the difficult cases.
Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk , pg. 192.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Chance...No Power

Aquinas…Chance is a perfectly meaningful term to describe mathematical possibilities, but the word becomes a sneaky bogeyman when used to describe something that has the power to influence anything. Chance has no being, and that which has no being has no power to do anything.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 75.

Qualities vs Check List

The second attitude is often a reaction to this modernist refusal to take God's Word seriously. In this reaction, the list of attributes ceases to be descriptive of a certain kind of man and hardens into a checklist. And as with all “checklist” approaches to godliness, a clear arbitrariness begins to creep in—no less humanistic even though it is thought to be “strict” or “conservative.” Countless churches have fallen away from faithfulness to Christ into an unbiblical woodenness, because they were faithless first in how they selected their leaders.
Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk , pg. 188.

Called to Eternal Glory

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10

Holiness to Completion

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Who Would'a Thunk It?

We live in perhaps the most anti-intellectual period of Christian history. We affirm technology and education, but we demean the role of the mind or intellect, particularly in the religious realm.
R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 66.

What is a Christian?

Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the LORD
Psalm 4:5  

Until He Comes

Communion Meditation
In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. Everything that has been created was created by him and for him, for his glory. In the beginning was the Word. The word was with God and was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate…Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…and to more than 500 others.

Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…In him, we live and move and have our being. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 

Such Men Do Exist

But with all this said, the basic qualifications which the Bible sets forth are character qualifications, both in the man’s life and in his household. We should not consider a man for the office of minister unless he fully meets the description that Scriptures give us. Every ministerial candidate will be a sinner, and no one will achieve absolute perfection before God. But Paul and Peter describe a certain kind of man for a reason. Such men do exist, and the church should be governed by them.
Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk , pg. 186.

Called, That...

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9

Abides in God

God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:16-18

Parish Bible Studies

At our last HOH meeting the elders disclosed that we will be providing Parish Bible Studies in the fall. These Parish Bible Studies will begin September 21 and will continue until November 16.

These studies will be Wednesday evenings at 7:00- 8:00 PM. The questions that will be discussed will be provided via the church email system on Monday before the studies. It will take less than an hour to prepare for the Parish Bible Study.

This short announcement is not all there is as more information is coming. However, if you can’t wait, feel free to ask any of the elders if you have more questions.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

We Proclaim The Lord's Death

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. Everything that has been created was created by him and for him, for his glory. In the beginning was the Word. The word was with God and was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

No Grumbling?

What would it look like if there were no grumbling? Or What would the world look like if no one complained? Some of us are pretty introspective, and we might be wondering what our lives would look like if we didn’t grumble. Immediately thoughts of peace, light, security, rest, comfort, ease, and patience flash through our minds. Life would be very different if we didn’t complain or whine or grumble.

But then, just as quickly those peaceful thoughts are pushed aside by reality. “What about the unfairness of life?” “I deserve a lot more than I’m getting.” “Who does that guy think he is talking to me like that?” “Doesn’t she know who I am?” “Who does she think he is?” I have a lot to complain about. Real life isn’t fair. Things happen; things that aren’t good. Grumbling is how we fix things while being too timid to actually do anything constructive.

Make Our Joy Complete

Confession of Sin

We all know that being a Christian is about not going to Hell when you die. But if that’s all you know, you’re in serious trouble. Being a Christian is not simply about not going to Hell when you die. It is really about living with God for eternity. Living with God means living in a close relationship with him. It means caring that he is God, caring that he wants a relationship with us, caring that he wants us to have relationships with one another, and caring that we know our place in the system.

Friday, July 29, 2011

From the Heart

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:17-25

Leaving You An Example

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:21

Q & A Pt. 3

Is temptation sin? What is the difference between temptation and sin?
Temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted in every way as we are and did not sin (Heb. 4:15). Temptation is something that happens around us, or inside our heads, that seeks to get us to take our eyes off Jesus. Positionally, we are sitting in the lap of God (1 Jn. 1:9). Temptation tries to get us to leave God’s presence and indulge in our desires. We sin when we hop down and give in to the temptation (Jas. 1:14, 15). One of the goals of the Christian life is to learn to live in a world full of temptations and, like Jesus, not sin.

It is similar to a martial arts student who strives to learn to defend himself in any and every situation. Early on in his training, he may get beat up by the bully, but over time, he learns to rebuff and overcome even the most sophisticated maneuvers. And when he is mature, he will be able to defeat the foe without even thinking about it. The Christian, when he is young, may be overwhelmed by every temptation that comes along. Over time, by proper training and instruction, he will learn to react to temptation in a godly way. He may never completely come to the place where he ceases from sin, but the Bible is full of teaching about how he can live a godly life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1, 2; 1 Cor. 1:4-8).

How can I institute this idea of confession of sin if I’ve never done it and I’ve been sinning for the past twenty years? I can’t remember all the sins I’ve committed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proclaim His Excellencies

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.
1 Peter 2:9

Hatred of Evil

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Proverbs 8:13

Q & A Pt. 2

You don’t understand how terrible my husband is. He is the most unlovely man on the planet. He is a slob, never showers, plops down in the den and watches TV for hours and hours, and he never leads in worship. The husband God gave me is not worthy of being revered or treated with anything but contempt.

Dear sister, you are correct. I don’t understand what you are going through. What I do understand is that God is God and you are not. I know that God is the giver of good things (Mt. 7:11). I know that God has given you what you need to become more Christlike (Rom. 8:29). I also know that the Bible is sufficient to help you live in any kind of circumstance, to be godly, and to not sin (2 Pet. 1:3ff). What you are doing is passing the buck. You are blaming your sin on your husband and on God (Gen. 3:12). You haven’t got what you think you deserve and are living in a way that expresses your dislike of your situation. Sister, this too is sin. Confess the sin of thinking you deserve more than God has given you. Confess the sin of thinking you are of greater value than you are. Confess the sin of having a heart that is above doing what God has provided for you to do in your circumstances. Repent, turn to God in humility, ask him to change you heart, and do what is right.

When should I confess my sin? Can I do it once a month? Once a week? Once a day?
You should confess your sin when you recognize it as sin. Remember that the point of all of this is fellowship with God and with those God has placed in your life. If you sin, the fellowship is broken. You should want to restore fellowship at all costs and as quickly as you can. This means that if you sinned against your sister this morning and what you did or said eats at you for the rest of the day, you should seek her out and make things right as soon as you can. In a perfect world, you should realize in the middle of the sin that it is sin and should confess it before the sentence is even completed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To Draw Near To Listen Is Better

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-3

Questions and Answers Pt. 1

What if, in the circumstances, the thing I did was really the right thing to do?

Was what you did sin? Often, people want to justify their sin. They say, you don’t understand. You didn’t see the look they gave me. You didn’t hear what that man said. You would have responded the same way I did, had it been you she had cheated. To this I respond in two ways. First, you don’t want to compare your life with the way I might live my life. I might have acted the same way you acted. I might not have. I’m not the issue. Second, you do want to compare your life with Jesus’ life. Jesus would not have done what you did. Jesus took abuse, shame, scourging, beating, a crown of thorns, nails in his hands and feet, even death, and he never said anything close to what you said to that woman (1 Pet. 2:21-24). Jesus said that when we are persecuted, we are to bless and curse not (Lk. 6:28, cf. Rom. 12:14). If what you did was sinful, you need to confess it and make things right with that person. Sin can never be justified by claiming that it was the right thing to do in the context.

Okay, so it was wrong, but she knows how to push my buttons, and she pushes them all the time. She needed to get what was coming to her.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Worth More Than Sparrows

So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:26-31

Called To Be Holy

“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…”
1 Peter 1:15


Confession of sin means, then, to say the same thing about your thoughts, motives, and behavior that God thinks of them. This includes admitting that your sin as yours alone and not related to anything anyone else did, said, or thought. You may not blame your sin on the perceived motives of what anyone else did. You were not being controlled by anyone or anything else. You chose to act the way you did, and you must own it. When confessing sin to others, you must be very careful not to mention their sin. This is a time when you are confessing your sin, not accusing someone else of their sin. You also must be very careful not to accuse the other person of putting a stumbling block in front of you. This comes across like a ploy to redirect whose fault your sin is. When confessing sin, only mention your sin and your choices.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where Your Heart Is

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

Restitution and Repairing the Ruins

When you are working on confessing your sin remember that part of confessing sin means to do whatever you can to restore the relationship. We have already discussed the fact that this means that you need to begin with admitting your sin in the whole shebang. Now you need to turn your attention to repairing the ruins. If, in your anger, you threw something at the wall and broke it, you will need to repair whatever was broken. If your sin was that you stole money from someone, you will need to make restitution (Ex. 22:15; Lev. 5:16; 6:2ff; Num. 5:5ff, etc.). If the sin was breaking your wife’s heart, you’ll need to do whatever you can to repair her heart. Admitting the sin is the first step, but now you’ll need to go way above and beyond anything you have done before to make things right.

This change from sinning to doing what is right is called repentance. Repentance means literally to “change your mind.” In the context of the Bible, it means to change your mind from what you thought before about yourself, your life, your deserts, your rights, your desires, and your place in creation and replace them with thoughts about what God thinks about you in all those areas. Your immediate behavior is an indicator of what you think of yourself. If you are sinning, you have replaced Christ as the center of your life with yourself. If you are standing up for your rights, you are not standing up for Christ’s rights. If you have been offended and you are reacting to that affront, you have abandoned Jesus as Lord and have sought to take his place. Repentance means confessing your sin, changing your mind about who you are, and replacing those wrong thoughts with a renewed allegiance to follow Christ wherever he leads.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Did it To Me

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
Matthew 25:37-40

Feeling and Doing

The discussion of the counseling problem in terms of the two ways of life, with their two orientations and two life motivations (desire or obedience), raises the question of the relationship of feeling to doing. I have discussed this to some extent in Competent to Counsel and will not repeat what I have said there. However, some additional comments may prove of interest. Perhaps the following excerpts from Ichabod Spencer will set the problem in perspective.

The following "sketch" (Spencer's word for case study) deals with the matter of feeling and behavior from the point of view of a conservative Christian. It is also a sample of one sort of pastoral counseling that was done by a Presbyterian preacher prior to the near capitulation of the Christian ministry to psychiatry. In his Sketches (which appeared in a First and Second Series), Spencer discussed a large variety of problems and how he handled them. There are many good insights in Spencer, although his work is outdated. In this sketch, among other things, Spencer rightly observed:

We Gotta Talk About Greek

The Greek word for confess used in 1 John 1:9 means to “say the same thing.” When you confess your sin to God and to those you have sinned against, you are to say the same thing about it that God says about it. Was your anger, fear, hurt feelings, envy, lust, strife, or retaliation something that God looked on with pride and good cheer? What does God think about your thoughts, motives, and behavior? Well, find out, and then say the same thing about it that God says. He hates it. He abhors it. He is embarrassed by it. Because of your behavior, he has turned his face away from you and has withdrawn his joy (Ps. 32:4, 5; 38:1-8; Isa. 59:2; Heb. 12:5ff). Brothers and sisters, you are in deep trouble unless you do something about it and in a hurry.

Putting these things together, so far, you must acknowledge that your sin is yours alone. You must admit and embrace the fact that the anger, the yelling, and the throwing things were sin, and that the sin comes from your evil heart. The heart, incidentally, is the core of your being. The heart is who you are deep inside. If you were to strip away all your inhibitions and the controls on your tongue and behavior, the things you would say and do would be a direct reflection of your heart—who you really are. When we sin, we are exhibiting who we really are in that instance. We are throwing off all restraint and doing what our heart desires. Confession of sin admits this and begs God to create in us a new heart (Ps. 51:10).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trust God

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Heb 10:39

Faith in God

When my daughter was very little, her mother and I used to go with walks with her. Often, when we came to a curb alongside the road, I would lift Rachel up and set her on the curb so she could balance on it and walk along it with us. At first, she was afraid because it was high and something new. I would hold her close and tell her that I loved her and wouldn't let her fall. She would smile at me, take my hand, and off we would go.

After awhile, I thought she should be stepping onto the curb all by herself. So when we got near to the curb, I began to encourage her to step up on the curb. She was afraid, and again, I bent down, took her in my arms and told her that I loved her and wouldn’t let her fall. She gave me that same grin, and off we would go.

Owning Your Sin

Your sin is your sin. It was not caused by anyone else. You chose to behave in the way that you did and nothing anyone did or might have done forced you to do it. Suppose your wife burned the toast and as a result you flew into a rage, screaming, yelling and throwing things. Of course you can accuse your wife of causing you to sin by burning your toast, but think about it for a minute. How did her burning the toast force you to react the way you did? Did she burn the toast and then run over and grab your brain and squeeze it really hard until anger and rage popped out? I don’t think so. Your sin is your sin. You did it yourself. Your wife is not your leader. You need to own your sin.

According to James your desires were enticed when your wife did not act in a way that suited your perceived role as head of the home and king of your castle (Jas. 1:14). She did something that you did not want and that you did not think you deserved. The burnt toast enticed you to grasp for your right to be in charge. Your wife was not giving you what you thought was your due. Then, when your desires were tweaked and you gave in to them, you flew into a rage and sin was present (Jas. 1:19). But your wife did not cause you to sin. She simply presented the temptation to sin. You saw the temptation, the burnt toast, assumed that she did it to “get to” you, and you chose to respond in anger. Your behavior was your sin. It had nothing to do with her or her burnt toast.

Incidentally, your sin consisted not only of the anger expressed by yelling and throwing things, but also your heart. The Bible says evil things come from an evil heart (Lk. 6:45). The root sin, then, was a heart that thought it deserved more than it was getting. The yelling and throwing things was only the indicator that more is going on deeper inside you. Your real sin is that you believe the world revolves around you. And this belief is exhibited when circumstances don’t go your way or when events differ from what you think you deserve.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Confession of Sin

I thought I would throw down a few thoughts regarding confession of sin for any of you who are wondering about it.

Repairing Broken Relationships
The main goal of confession of sin is to repair a broken relationship. Of course, confession of sin is actually only half the equation; forgiveness is the other. If you confess your sins, but the person to whom you confess does not forgive you, the relationship is still broken. However, whether the person against whom you have sinned forgives you or not has nothing to do with whether you should confess your sin or how you confess your sin.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Christians Get Depressed Too by David P. Murray

This was one of my new Kindle books. I was hoping for a lot more. Oddly, the first thing I read when I got this book was the appendix. I don't usually read appendices at all, but this one was really good. Mr. Murray wrote a really good article about how Christians should view secular science. He said that we should not take everything we hear, see and read as Gospel truth. Instead, we should be steeped in the knowledge of the Word of God and view everything we see through the lens of Scripture. How great is that?

Then I went back and read the book. In many ways the book was very good. It did a good job of pointing out various characters in the Bible who suffered from depression for various reasons. Mr. Murray had spend many years with depressed people and so he knew what depression was. The down side was that other than observing that Biblical characters were depressed, he almost totally took the non-Christian medical model as the standard for explaining depression.

Marriage Matters by Winston Smith

Winston hit this one out of the park. This book is really good. I was a little put off by the subtitle "ordinary change through ordinary moments" because I don't consider living in sin an ordinary moment. I think of ordinary as when I am walking with God. But perhaps others ordinarily don't walk with God and thus for them ordinary is pretty ugly.

If the tone of your home, or aroma of your home (to borrow from another great book on marriage) is one of bitterness, anger, hurt feelings, and silence because of lack of fellowship, this book is for you (or if you know someone who lives like this). Winston hits the nail on the head in every chapter. Every topic is focused on helping people evaluate, observe, and measure every aspect of their relationships, first with God and then with one another.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Tribute

I don't know this fellow, but he wrote a great testimony to his Grandfather. Enjoy—

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Effective Change

Jesus said that when we are fully trained we will become like our teacher (Lk. 6:40). As we study our Bibles we find that there are many ways for us to be trained. We learn by hearing lectures, we learn by hearing stories, we learn by singing songs, and we learn by simply being with someone we want to learn from. In fact the greatest way to become something or someone we aren't is to hang around with someone we want to be like.

When you think back over your life, you can see many ways in which you are like the various people you have admired. That favorite art teacher, or coach or scout leader, for instance. When you admire someone you naturally want to be like them. You may not even notice the changes, you simply begin to walk like them, talk like them, and think like them. You easily and naturally become little or smaller versions of them.

At the same time you are also like those people you simply spent time with whether or not you appreciated your time together. For example you probably get angry like your father did, or you may find yourself manipulating people through guilt in the same way your mother did. You may stand like your father, who stands like your grand-father. You may find yourself cooking or cleaning like your mother. This is all because we learn things by being with others as much as or more than we learn by being lectured to or by being formally taught.

At The Center for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship we work diligently to help you grow into Christ’s likeness in the most biblical way possible. That is primarily through meeting, knowing and spending time with the creator of the universe. If you spend time with him, you will, over time become like him. And that is where real glory, real fulfillment, and real life come from.

With this in mind you need to know that we are not as interested in helping you overcome your problems as we are in helping you in your relationship with God. This is because solving your problems can only occur through your relationship with God. Your problems will never go away as long as you are focused on them. So, come, meet God through his son Jesus Christ. See him on the faces of his people. Become like him as you spend time with him. Where he is, there are no problems with living.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

His Praise is From God

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Romans 2:28-29

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Righteousness of God Revealed

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."
Romans 1:16-17

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fountain of Life

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Prov. 13:14

Thursday, May 12, 2011

From This Time Forth and Forevermore

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 121

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Deep Depression

From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death;
I have suffered your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken my companions and loved ones from me;
the darkness is my closest friend.
Psalm 88:15-18

Monday, May 09, 2011

We’ve Forgotten How to do It

Blog by Pastor Steve Wilkins
Let’s be clear: It is not wrong to rejoice when the wicked fall. We are forbidden to exalt ourselves over our personal enemies (as if they deserved to die and we didn’t) but we surely may rejoice when evil men who have oppressed and killed others perish. I have no problem with thankful praise to God that Osama is dead and no longer around to stir up the ungodly in conspiring to do evil.

Here’s my problem: When America boasts over it’s omnipotence and greatness in assassinating a wicked man. Here are some of the things that have been said (and some are slightly paraphrased) by our president and other leaders:

“This shows how powerful America is. You can’t hide from us. We’ll get you, no matter how long it takes.”
“No one attacks us and gets away with it.”

“This sends a message to the world, no matter how you try to hide, we’ll find you and bring you to justice. This proves the invincibility of our will.”

Do these statements remind you of anyone?