31 May 2010

The Rising

If you're in northeast Ohio you oughtta check out The Rising. And, take a look at the trailer here.

Doctrine of God Week 9

This week our study on the Doctrine of God focuses on the Holiness of God. Enjoy.

(Ignore the pop-up adds)

24 May 2010

Embrace Suffering over Prosperity

Over at Desiring God they are posting Twelve Appeals to Prosperity Preachers. I took note today as the subject was on suffering. We are ordained to suffer as the post points out for at least six reasons:

1. Suffering deepens faith and holiness.
2. Suffering makes your cup increase.
3. Suffering is the price of making others bold.
4. Suffering fills up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
5. Suffering enforces the missionary command to go.
6. The supremacy of Christ is manifest in suffering.

Let's reconsider our thinking about suffering versus prospering in a world full of sinful decay.
Read the whole post here.

22 May 2010

New Blog

Looking for a new blog to read that has a true Biblical view of the world we live in? Check out Wright Thinking authored by Rev. Scott R. Wright of Redeemer Church (PCA) in Hudson, Ohio. The blog continues to grow and expand so check back often and feel free to leave a comment.

14 May 2010

Living the Cruciform Life

Outstanding sermon deliverd by Dr. Nelson Kloosterman of Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Enjoy and be blessed.

12 May 2010

Log, track and analyze your prayer life!

Let me introduce you to a new online tool to help you with your prayer life, myPraypal.com. It is a fantastic tool to organize, track and analyze your prayer life. It has numerous features that allow you to email prayer reminders, update your prayer list and journal your individual prayer requests. From their mission statement we read: Our God is a communicating God, and we communicate with Him through prayer. All prayer is to the Father, through His Son, Jesus and enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit. God works in our lives through our prayers and through His answers to those prayers. This pushes us to see the will of God in our lives as it works out. If all we have to do is ask and it will be given to us, as Jesus says in Matthew 7:7, and if all things are working together for our good as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:28…then why don’t we pray? This is a huge problem because without prayer, we grow frustrated. We rob ourselves of the joy God wants for us. ...Now, what if you could log, track and analyze your prayers and the answers to prayers in your life over time? You may:

*Be able to see what God is calling you to do
*Be able to see God clearly working in your life
*Be able to experience greater joy from these blessings
*Be able to glorify Him with a more thankful heart

This is worth giving it a try. It's worth looking at your prayer life and for the electronically minded, a way of giving your prayer life a boost. And, it's free. You'll find it here. Let me know what you think.

11 May 2010

Can You Laugh at Loss?

"I am with you alway."—Matthew 28:20.

It is well there is One who is ever the same, and who is ever with us. It is well there is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life. O my soul, set not thine affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures, but set thine heart upon Him who abides for ever faithful to thee. Build not thine house upon the moving quicksands of a deceitful world, but found thy hopes upon this rock, which, amid descending rain and roaring floods, shall stand immovably secure. My soul, I charge thee, lay up thy treasure in the only secure cabinet; store thy jewels where thou canst never lose them. Put thine all in Christ; set all thine affections on His person, all thy hope in His merit, all thy trust in His efficacious blood, all thy joy in His presence, and so thou mayest laugh at loss, and defy destruction. Remember that all the flowers in the world's garden fade by turns, and the day cometh when nothing will be left but the black, cold earth. Death's black extinguisher must soon put out thy candle. Oh! how sweet to have sunlight when the candle is gone! The dark flood must soon roll between thee and all thou hast; then wed thine heart to Him who will never leave thee; trust thyself with Him who will go with thee through the black and surging current of death's stream, and who will land thee safely on the celestial shore, and make thee sit with Him in heavenly places for ever. Go, sorrowing son of affliction, tell thy secrets to the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. Trust all thy concerns with Him who never can be taken from thee, who will never leave thee, and who will never let thee leave Him, even "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." "Lo, I am with you alway," is enough for my soul to live upon, let who will forsake me. - C.H. Spurgeon

Can you laugh at personal loss? I'm not sure I'm all the way there yet either. Yet we are called to do just that. The things of this world are passing and one day will be no more. Where is our treasure? Here? Or in heaven with our Lord?

10 May 2010

Ministering through Personal Visitation MP3's Now Online

The lectures from last weekend by Dr. Nelson Kloosterman at Redeemer Church (PCA) are now available online here. It was a great seminar on church leadership home visits. I highly recommend it. As Dr. Kloosterman also recommended the book The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church, I've added a link for convenience. May I recommend Andrew Bonar's book The Visitor's Book of Texts: A Vital Tool for Pastoral Visitation. Bonar offers Biblical verses and helps for nearly every sick bed situation. It's a valuable resource.

07 May 2010

Blogging Pastors

Many of you have read the post by Abraham Piper, 6 Reasons Pastors Should Blog, but if not, it's worth a look and some serious consideration. All six points are important but I think his last point, ...to be known, is almost crucial. The last paragraph is paramount:

You can’t be everybody’s friend, and keeping a blog is not a way of pretending that you can. It’s simply a way for your people to know you as a human being, even if you can’t know them back. This is valuable, not because you’re so extraordinary, but because leadership is more than the words you say. If you practice the kind of holiness that your people expect of you, then your life itself opened before them is good leadership—even when you fail.

Pastors: You lead and guide us but we want to know you better. We want to know what makes you tick. We want to know where we connect with you and maybe where we don't. We want to see how God works in your life and not just on Sunday morning. We want to see you as a person, redeemed by God yet imperfect.

So start blogging already.

06 May 2010

Advice on Reading Theological Works

Nick Batzig offers some great advice on reading theological works under nine headings:

1. Read every chapter, article or sermon recommended by professors, pastors and theologians that you hold in high esteem.
2. Make the level of your reading to vary. Be reading more difficult and less difficult books.
3. Don’t neglect the footnotes or endnotes .
4. Ask friends what they are reading and what they have found most helpful.
5. Read those chapters that appear to be most closely related to the subject you are currently studying.
6. Read chapters that are relevant to a particular theological issue with which you are wrestling.
7. Find compilation volumes and familiarize yourself with the contributors and chapter titles.
8. Find and read doctoral dissertations.
9. Guard your heart and mind from intellectual pride.

This is a great post. Read the whole article here and check out the website, too. Thanks, Nick.

IX Marks E-Journal on Deacons

IX Marks has published their latest e-journal on the role of the deacon. It's pack full of good stuff - well worth a read no matter what role you fulfill in your church. I found Jamie Dunlap's article, Deacons: Shock Absorbers and Servants particularly well done. Though I don't agree with it in its entirety (such as limited terms of service and not meeting as a "deliberative body") it has many points worth considering such as:

The elders are called to “direct the affairs of the church” (1 Timothy 5:17), and deacons are called to support that direction. In our churches, then, elders should make directional decisions while deacons facilitate congregational involvement to make that vision a reality.


When standing diaconal committees begin to feel that they “own” specific ministry areas of the church, it becomes difficult for them to avoid making direction-setting decisions that should be left to the elders. After all, even things as “worldly” as the building or the budget have highly spiritual dimensions in their administration.

Well said. Many of us are aware of this type of conflict arising in churches today.

Read the entire article here and the e-journal here. Be blessed as you put this info to use for God's glory.

04 May 2010

Familiarity & Contempt

Familiarity & Contempt
by Rev. Scott R. Wright

It has been said, "Familiarity breeds contempt." Familiarity is a wonderful thing, especially when it describes one's relationship to God. But when twisted by sin, it can trigger a despicable response. Our culture's general disdain for anything Christian is an illustration of this. It scorns those ideas and convictions that served to undergird our nation's structure. Familiarity with our founding principles has bred contempt. The alarming result is an erosion of the collective commitment to what is true, honorable, just, commendable and excellent (Php 4:8). Sadly, the contemporary Church is not immune from such attrition. While regularly handling sacred things she seems to have lost much of her appreciation for those hallowed privileges entrusted to her by Christ.
Jesus taught that those who saw gospel works and heard gospel words would be truly blessed. This has been fulfilled in our day. Our generation enjoys the blessings of which He spoke. More blessed are we than many prophets and kings who desired to see and hear gospel things, and did not (Lk 10:24). The best, the brightest and the most influential of the Old Testament longed to behold the fulfillment of ancient promises. But they were unable because they did not live to see the gospel age. Today, even the humblest Christian has access to these glorious mysteries. The most unassuming believer is in a more exalted position than John the Baptist himself (Mt 11:11). By grace alone we are living in the latter days. We regularly see proof of God’s miracles of grace in human lives. We routinely hear glad tidings of great joy about Christ's cross and resurrection. Do we cherish these amazing gospel privileges? Do we fully appreciate our place in history? Oh, let not sin pervert the familiarity we have with Jesus. Consider His Person. Ponder his benefits. Deal not falsely like the other familiar friend (Ps 55:13).

Rev. Scott R. Wright is pastor of Redeemer Church (PCA) in Hudson, Ohio. To learn more visit www.redeemerohio.org. Copyright reserved.

03 May 2010


It was great to watch Rory Mcilroy win his first PGA tour title at Quail Hollow yesterday. The young lad won’t even be 21 until tomorrow. I was happy for him as he made his eagle on the fifteenth which pretty well sealed the victory. And then he sunk a long birdie on the 18th that was just the icing on the cake. As the ball dropped in the roar from the patrons was deafening. It was exciting and gratifying to watch as a fan. What a great moment and a great victory. I’m sure it will be a good memory for him.

But like all memories it will fade. The money earned will be spent. His career will go on for good or bad and life will continue on for him, his colleagues and for the rest of us. It was just a few outstanding moments in his life. Tiger Woods also won a prestigious tournament at a young age - a little piece of history the network announcers were very keen to share with their audience. I wondered if Rory would make the same foolish mistakes, commit the same dreadful sins that Tiger did. A horrible thought I know. But somehow reaching fame and achieving the monetary status all means very little after a time. Victories are just that way. Golf, like much of life, is like war. You never win the war; you can only win a battle. The next week or day, hour or moment the war resumes. The struggle continues and so does the internal battle within us.

I’ve had my victories as well. Oh, nothing like a winning a golf tournament. But, I’ve had my moments. The memories have faded so much, however, that I can’t remember the feeling. All I have is a piece of paper commemorating the achievement and the vague recollection of the victory meal. I’m glad my life is not made up of these moments or more importantly, searching after these moments. I’m not seeking the next achievement, the next success. My happiness is grounded in my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ whose finished work was a victory for all who believe. That is the one true victory of all time.

Let’s all enjoy those victories we can in this life, but let us never forget the victory over sin that has been won for all time by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Doctrine of God Week 5

This week's study focuses on God's eternality.

(Please ignore the pop-up adds)

Holiness demands punishment for sin

Pastor Dan Burgoyne of NEO Church here in Cleveland, Ohio has penned an article for the Cleveland Plain Dealer's "Messages of Faith" column. In the article he relates a conversation with a soldier on the realities of heaven and hell. Read it here on his blog and check out NEO's website. The "Messages of Faith" column is usually the home to articles on non-traditional Christian values so, thanks to the Plain Dealer for publishing Burgoyne's piece.

02 May 2010

Daughters of Eve Ephesians 5:22-24

What does submission look like in a Christian marriage? Listen to this outstanding sermon and be blessed.