Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
First, I must confess and have already confessed here that I am not the greatest model of faithfulness in leading my family in worship or devotions (praise God that he is rich in mercy). I am a Youth Pastor which means that our schedule is often hectic and our children routinely stay up way past their bedtimes because of my job and church related activities.
That said, this is no excuse for not having a regular family devotion/worship time. I should never want to miss the opportunity to bless my children, my wife, and myself through reading the Bible, singing praises to God, and praying for the Holy Spirit's work in our lives.
Here are some practical tips I have learned in starting and maintaining regular family devotions/worship in our home.
KEEP IT SIMPLE! KEEP IT SIMPLE! KEEP IT SIMPLE! Did I mention KEEP IT SIMPLE (read, sing, pray). This is the most important rule to remember. We don't need to do more than these simple elements.
-Keep it age appropriate (don't read the KJV if you have small children find an age
Monday, September 22, 2008
At the start of 2008 I compiled a list of books I wanted to read this year. I have added more than a few to my 2008 list and I have yet to remove any. I still have a little over three months to go. I doubt that I will make it all the way through my list. However, the benefits have been enormous. I have been far more disciplined in my reading.
Through my reading God has blessed me as I have wept my way through sections of books and was challenged by others, I have been encouraged, and convicted of sin, I have made new friends, and carried on conversations with some of the godliest men in church history. Above all, I find myself loving Christ more now than I did nine months ago. Thank you God for books.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
We have moved our focus from the transcendent God and the Work of the Spirit through the gospel and put our focus programs and buildings. The Holy Spirit and the gospel can be removed from a church while the church continues on with its programs and building projects. Gospel-less, Spiritless churches send people to hell while assuring them of heaven.
That is why we can never assume the gospel. We must always revisit God's plan of redemption. It must form the base and ground of all that we do. Churches, pastors, elders, deacons, songs, curriculum, books and church budgets, all must be evaluated according to the gospel. But to do this we must know what the gospel is.
Here is Mark Dever explaining the gospel. I hope to add videos along these lines. I took this off The Gospel Coalition website.
For more on the dangers of assuming the gospel, my pastor Bob Buchanan has written an excellent post on his blog here
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
On the bright side we had VIP tickets and were seated about 20 yards from the stage. We went with good friends so we had a good time. The coolest people at the rally were the secret service men and women. I think I want to be one when I grow up.
(Both Pictures were taken by Kirk Speer for the Colorado Springs Gazette and were found here)
Friday, September 05, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
In his article Dr. Trueman addresses the problem and dangers of seminary students who are drawn to the personalities of their professors. However, I do not think the issue of the personality cult is limited to seminaries. In general we all are as Calvin said idol factories and we will even turn good men into idols. Even worse is our tendency and desire to be worshipped ourselves. As pastors we are prone to the ego stroking that personality cults bring. (After all, its nice to have at least a few people who listen to what we say.) We need the words of John the Baptist "He must increase, but I must decrease" John 3:30
I would encourage all to read the article
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
This is a video of Russell Moore, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration; Dean of the School of Theology; Associate Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics (2001) at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, explaining briefly how his theology helped him in adopting his own children.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Chapter 15:7 "Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you." This is a gospel statement. In order for Christ to welcome us he had to be killed to make atonement for our sin. Therefore it should be easy for us to be welcoming to one another. If we cannot welcome one another perhaps it means that we have not understood the gospel. The Gospel should radically transform our relationships. Yet how many churches are marked by division rather than unity, how many churches are stuck in a cycle of relational dysfunction? We need, I need the gospel to transform my relationships.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Shaunna and I are in Louisville Kentucky, our first real trip together without children. Getting to Louisville was no easy task, it makes me think that God gave us airlines for our own personal growth and sanctification. We were scheduled to leave Denver at 10am and arrive in Kentucky at 6pm. But we were late getting out of Denver because of a plane malfunction so we missed all our connecting flights. To make a long story short we flew standby and made it to bed (in Louisville) at 1:30am.
However, God is good and as we boarded our (late) plane in Denver we meet Margaret and Sydney who are from Louisville. Margaret's husband Rob is the pastor at North Oldham Baptist Church just north of Louisville (Rob went to Southern Seminary). We ended up on all the same flights. In Chicago all of us were on standby for Louisville, so we had dinner at Chili's in the airport, with. Even in our travel woes God gave us good fellowship with believers.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
As an American I think that I deserve so much, I deserve: great schools, financial help in a bad economy, health, good insurance, a life free of fear, low gas prices, social mobility, "The American Dream" I deserve to be the master of my life. In actuality, I deserve far less. God would be totally just in condemning me. God does not owe me anything. If he destroyed me in his wrath it would merely be to the exaltation of his glorious justice. I am a sinner. Too often my actions seek to dethrone God to organize a cosmic coup where I seek to take his throne and rule myself and others. Yet God rich in mercy does not pour out his wrath on me for my sin. No, he poured out his wrath on his Son, killing Christ in my place. I deserve nothing and I have been given everything. So fundamentally, my lack of contentment shows a deficiency in my understanding of the gospel.
What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Saturday, March 15, 2008
1. Pharaoh and Egypt
2. God's wrath for idolatry
Verse 12 of Exodus 12 is so important. God states that he would have dominion over the god's of Egypt, gods the Israelites no doubt worshipped alongside the Egyptians. It seems that God's judgment in killing the firstborn was his judgment on both Egypt's and Israel’s idolatry. In order to be saved from God's righteous wrath a substitute had to be provided. This is a divine picture to help us understand the perfect substitute we have in Christ. John the Baptist no doubt understood this when he exclaimed "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Why do we object to Penal-Substitutionary Atonement? It is a hard pill for us to swallow. The only way we could have a reconciled relationship to God was for God to kill his own Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin. On the cross the righteous wrath and anger of God was poured out on Christ for our sin and rebellion against God. Perhaps some of us are uncomfortable with a God who is so perfectly just that he would kill his own Son in order to make sure that no sin goes unpunished.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”
Friday, March 07, 2008
On a different note I would like to post on sandwiches. Not only do I love to read and listen to good music I also love a good sandwich. I am not talking about pbj slapped between two pieces of Wonder Bread. No, a good sandwich is a magnificent work of art much like the paintings of, Monet, the symphonies of Mahler the improvisations of Coltrane. How few there are in our time who can make a good sandwich.
The base of any good sandwich is of course the bread any sandwich not made from a loaf of fresh baked bread is worthless. My preference is sourdough. Next it should contain a binding element like Miracle Whip, mustard, ranch dressing, Heidi’s deli one of my favorite sandwich shops uses a spicy pepper spread for one of their sandwiches. I prefer the veggies to go next. My basic veggies are lettuce (iceberg or leaf) tomatoes (out of your garden are always the best) onions (red seem to work best in a sandwich) and if in season avocado.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
1. It reminded me that I am a miserable sinner
2. It reminded me that Christ is a great Savior
3. It convicted me of my self-righteousness when
when I judge my brothers & sisters in Christ.
4. It humbled me and showed how deeply
rooted and pervasive pride is in my life.
5. It held out a great model of serving truth
6. Sibbes uncovers and magnifies the work of Christ
in the gospel.
Like many young Calvinists I lack meekness, gentleness and humility and more than any other writer or book The Bruised Reed helped me see that my lack of gentleness is really pride and it is sinful. So, as a constant reminder to myself of the lessons the Lord taught me as I read Sibbes I have titled this blog A Bruised Reed and a Smoking Wick. This is not so much meant to be a tribute to Richard Sibbes as it is to be a reminder that I am a bruised reed and My Faith resembles a smoking wick much more than it does an actual flame. Matthew 12:20, Isaiah 42:3
"A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth. Thus, we appeal to men as if they all had the ability to receive Christ at any time; we speak of His redeeming work as if He had done no more by dying than make it possible for us to save ourselves by believing...and we depict the Father and the Son, not as sovereignly active in drawing sinners to themselves, but as waiting in quiet impotence 'at the door of our hearts' for us to let them in"
"For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God Saves sinners. God the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son, Spirit; three Persons working together in Sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people"
"Where the Arminian says: 'I owe my election to my faith' the Calvinist says 'I owe my faith to my election.'"
"The Arminian will only say: 'I could not have gained my salvation without Calvary,' the Calvinist will say: 'Christ gained my salvation for me at Calvary.'"
"Christ did not win a hypothetical salvation for hypothetical believers"
Read the essay for yourself and you will be blessed by it.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
"To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only."
"A humble confession exalts God. How is God's free grace magnified in crowning those who deserve to be condemned!"
"In prayer we act like men; in praise we act like angels"
"God is perfect, the quintessence of good. He is sweetness in the flower....There is a certain sweetness about God's person which delights, nay, rather ravishes the soul."
"Obedience is an excellent way of commenting upon the Bible."
"If God be infinite, filling heaven and earth, see what a full portion the saints have; they have him for their portion who is infinite. His fullness is an infinite fullness; and he is infinitely sweet, as well as infinitely full."
"God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth."
"We are not elected for holiness, but to holiness"
I will post more as these are a sampling of the first 75 pages. I love the puritans because, better than anyone else, they understood the intersection that must take place between theology and worship (by worship I mean living in obedience to Christ Romans 12).
Monday, February 04, 2008
I found this little clip on the Together For the Gospel website. It is a great reminder for what is at stake in preaching. There is an earnestness that should be present in preaching because God killed his Son to pay his wrath for our sin. So when a preacher tells jokes or plays psycologist, or uses the pulpit for casual conversations he is making a mockery of what God has done for us. God sacrificed his son as an atonement for us. How dare we approach the gospel so lightly. And John Piper is the best prophet in our time to remind us of the call of the preacher.
Sorry about the fact that the sound is one or two seconds off. I had problems uploading it and now it has disappeared from the T4G website so I can't fix it.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Why place such an emphasis on reading? Well, there are many reasons; for starters the godliest men I know are all tireless readers and I want to be godly. Secondly, reading good books about God, theology, Christians of the past, and history are all ways of working at Philippians 4:8. I hope that God will use this discipline of reading for my own spiritual transformation this year.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
“Your attitude is not one I can commend…Your duty is to show that your views and beliefs lead to a higher and finer type of Christian life and living. Then that will lead others to speak to you and to enquire as to your secret. To start a division on odd points and to raise difficulties especially in a matter like that of hymns seems to me to be the worst possible approach. It gives the impression that you are intolerant and that you regard yourselves as heresy hunters. Your duty it seems to me is to attend the services. If you find you cannot sing a hymn, just refrain from doing so.... You must beware of falling into what appears to be the common evangelical trap and snare namely an over-punctiliousness about matters that are relatively unimportant and a tendency to neglect more vital matters such as love and charity…”
I am perhaps more guilty than was Elizabeth in my attitudes concerning congregational singing. Though dead yet he speaks! I have rightfully fallen under his hand of correction. It seems as though M’cheyne’s comment rings true and God continues to use these men as weapons long after they have departed this earth.