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?

Goodness Gracious

by RC Sproul Jr.
Common grace is more potent than we normally think. Special grace, on the other hand, is likely more nuanced than we tend to think. As these United States celebrate the just end to the life of Osama Bin Laden, I�m afraid we are in danger of missing both of these truths. First, common grace is keeping the world from being populated with nothing but Osama Bin Ladens. The difference between Bin Laden and Gandhi isn't that Bin Laden was evil enough to embrace an evil, violent religion while Gandhi was good enough to at least choose and teach a more gentle, false religion. The difference is the amount of common grace given by the living God, the Father of our Lord Jesus.  Both men were sinners. Neither gave any sign of having turned to cross and clinging to the finished work of Christ. And so both men find themselves well beyond the reach of any grace, in eternal torment. Both are receiving what they so richly deserve.

The state itself is a manifestation of common grace. We would be wise to remember that God killed Bin Laden, not the United States government. God ordained the state to bear the sword, to punish evildoers. And so in this case they have done so.  They have rightly served as His ministersof justice. We should give thanks, to the God who gave us government. That said, what does it say about us that we are dancing in the streets today, while we Christians were so silent and ashamed when notorious abortionist George Tiller was killed? Please don't misunderstand. I do not believe that private citizens should take the law into their own hands to kill abortionists. But the same state that has spent millions of dollars and nearly ten years to hunt down one killer in Bin Laden, in those same years has spent millions of dollars to protect men like George Tiller whose grisly work has resulted in many times over the number of deaths Bin Laden gave us. Indeed, in further evidence of the power of common grace, in Muslim countries babies are protected. Our wanton destruction of the unborn, in fact, is one reason they hate us so much. God bless the USA?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Lord's Supper as a Commendation

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul had harsh words for the saints there who came together to eat the Lord’s Supper. For when they came, they came squabbling, fighting, and devouring one another. Some even came early so they could stuff themselves on the food and get drunk on the wine. They acted like no one else was involved in the meal.

Paul goes on to say that the meal of the Lord is supposed to be a meal that expresses the oneness the people have with Christ and therefore with one another.

In the past few years, we have had a few folks who have not understood how to live out what the Bible describes as the body of Christ. They have been self absorbed and grumpy. But over all, we have understood and practiced what we proclaim every Sunday morning: Jesus is Lord; We are Christ’s body; Our community is filled with graciousness because we strive to live as Christ’s body; And this meal is an expression and a participation in the fellowship we have with one another, because we have fellowship with the Father through the son, in the power of the Spirit.

When Paul related the words we repeat every Sunday in the Lord’s Supper to the Corinthians, he was in the middle of a very strong rebuke. We use them each Sunday as a commendation, as a memorial to the graciousness of God, and as participation in God’s mission and ministry in our world. Let us partake together

Our gracious Father, we thank you for taking us in when we were rebellious people. You poured your grace out on us when we did not deserve it and are knitting us together into a prefect man. We aren’t where we will be, but we are working to express your Son’s life in our lives, by your grace. We thank you and we commit our lives to you as we eat and drink, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Godliness + Contentment = Great Gain

God afflicted the Apostle Paul by what he called “a thorn in the flesh.” He asked God to take it away, in fact he asked three times, but God told him that he needed to learn to understand that what God had given him was a gracious gift. It was what Paul needed to learn that God’s grace is sufficient and necessary to learn humility and Christ likeness. Paul needed to rely and rest on the strength of God, which could only come through Paul’s weakness.

Paul went on to say that he then applied that truth to every situation he found himself. Whether it was weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, or calamities he was content with God’s provision. He had learned that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

What We've Been Up To

This is what my daughter Rachel has been doing lately.
Thanks to Sandy Hoeft for the picture, and to Gwen Spencer for making the  flyers.

It Is The Lord

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8