29 June 2011

28 June 2011

Is there Repentance?

Though I shy away from controversial topics on this blog, I present this brief video in an effort to begin to answer where we should come down on the John Piper - Rick Warren connection. I have no axe to grind, I simply believe, starting with Warren's most famous work, his ministry falls short. And, though I have benefited repeatedly from Piper's ministry and probably always will, I find myself confused by his affirmation of Warren. But, then again, who of us, me, you, Warren, or Piper is ever perfect in our theological assessment of others?

27 June 2011

Devoted Followers

To exalt, proclaim and treasure Jesus Christ
That He may have devoted followers throughout the world.

Luke 9:18-27
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

24 June 2011

Serving the Ungrateful

Replace "deacon" with "Christian" in the statement below and see if it works for you:

Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho RoadA real deacon, then, can serve those who are not kind and grateful in return (Luke 6:35). Why? A Christian is no man's creditor, and every man's debtor. A Christian, when he is in his right mind, says "Look who I am in Christ! I have come to fullness of life in him. I will rule and reign with Christ forever. I am accepted in the Beloved. God will meet all my needs according to His riches in glory. Oh, world, you owe me nothing! I deserved hell, and now, by God's mercy, I am rich beyond the wildest dreams of an earthly billionaire. Do I need recognition, awards, pats on the back, expressions of gratitude? Does a billionaire mind when a thief steals a quarter from his pocket? How then shall I ever be shaken by an insult, a cold shoulder, or a thankless person." - From Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Tim Keller, pg. 138.

Can you fully agree with this statement above? It would be very difficult for most of us to live and think this way everyday, all day. May God give us the stength to desire nothing more than Him and Him alone and then to live our lives daily denying ourselves for Christ's sake.

21 June 2011

A Prayer for Boasting in, Not Bemoaning Our Weaknesses

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9–10

Heavenly Father, as I meditate on these words of Paul, I vacillate between feelings of anger and relief, for as a young follower of Jesus, I wasn’t taught to delight in weakness but rather to despise weakness, to deny weakness, to demonize weakness, to dethrone weakness. That’s why I totally understand Martin Luther’s statement that “bad theology is the worst taskmaster of all.” For I’ve suffered much under the merciless whip of several gospel distortions.

It was all about “the victorious Christian life”—overcoming and not underachieving; being more than a conqueror and not less than a success; having a type A personality on spiritual steroids, with a faith not only to move mountains but also to control my destiny. I didn’t think in terms of sufficient grace, I wanted replacement grace—getting rid of anything unpleasant in my life.

Thank you, Father, for rescuing me from this and many other misrepresentations of life in Christ. Thank you for the godly men and women you’ve brought into my life over the years—the humble and courageous servants of Jesus who’ve helped me understand the true riches of the gospel and the way of the cross. Increase their tribe, Lord; increase their tribe.

Father, I know we’re not to be defined by our weaknesses and brokenness, but I realize more than ever, that it’s in the place of need and helplessness that Jesus meets us. I have no ability to change my heart, so I very much want the power of Christ to rest on me; no, I very much need for his power to rest on me. I am desperate for all the transforming and sufficient grace you will give me.

And as you continue to humble and gentle my heart, greatly increase my compassion toward others in their weakness and brokenness. Sometimes I want other people to be okay and strong only because of my selfishness. Forgive my irritation, impatience, and avoidance of people whose need is much greater than my supply.

It’s only because Jesus embraced the weakness of the cross that we can freely and gladly boast in the weaknesses of our lives. What a most profound, liberating, and hope-filled paradox. So very amen we pray, in Jesus’ holy and loving name. Amen.

Reposted with permission.
Scotty Smith
Pastor for Preaching
Christ Community Church
1215 Hillsboro Rd.
Franklin, TN 37069

20 June 2011

To Treasure Christ

To exalt, proclaim and treasure Jesus Christ
That He may have devoted followers throughout the world.

17 June 2011

Critical Questions (6) Matthew 24:1-3

Matthew 24:1-3
1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”

13 June 2011

To Proclaim Christ

To exalt, proclaim and treasure Jesus Christ
That He may have devoted followers throughout the world.

1 Peter 2:4-10
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
8 and “A stone of stumbling,and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 June 2011

Not What You See


The Battle Belongs to the Lord

On my wish list...

Spurgeon for 11 June

Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed. (Isaiah 54.4)

We shall not be ashamed of our faith. Carping critics may assail the Scriptures upon which we ground our belief, but every year the Lord will make it more and more clear that in His Book there is no error, no excess, and no omission. It is no discredit to be a simple believer; the faith which looks alone to Jesus is a crown of honor on any man's head and better than a star on his breast.

We shall not be ashamed of our hope. It shall be even as the Lord has said. We shall be fed, led, blest, and rested. Our Lord will come, and then the days of our mourning shall be ended. How we shall glory in the Lord who first gave us lively hope and then gave us that which we hoped for!

We shall not be ashamed of our love. Jesus is to us the altogether lovely, and never, never, shall we have to blush because we have yielded our hearts to Him. The sight of our glorious Well-beloved will justify the most enthusiastic attachment to Him. None will blame the martyrs for dying for Him. When the enemies of Christ are clothed with everlasting contempt, the lovers of Jesus shall find themselves honored by all holy beings, because they chose the reproach of Christ rather than the treasures of Egypt.

10 June 2011

Critical Questions (5) 1 Peter 4:16-19

1 Peter 4:16-19
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

08 June 2011

Doctrine of Man Week 9

This week we review the Doctrine of Man in his state of glory.

Proverbs 14:32
The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing, but the righteous finds refuge in his death.

06 June 2011

To Exalt Christ Psalm 34:1-3

How do we exalt His name? By blessing, praising and boasting in His name.

Psalm 34:1-3
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

03 June 2011

Helping Sad People in Your Church

Nancy Guthrie
Nancy Guthrie delivered an extremely insightful workshop at TGC this year titled, Is Your Church a Safe Place for Sad People? Learning to Walk with Each Other Through Loss. I cannot recommend this enough. Under six headings she shares from her own grief what she has learned with her husband. Many of us as church leaders would do well to listen, learn and put into action her suggestions.The hour you spend listening to this address will reap fruit many times over as you learn to help others in their grief.
Be blessed.

02 June 2011

Doctrine of Man Week 8 - Union with Christ

We discuss the doctrine of  Union with Christ this week. This is one of the best expositions I've heard. Below is a brief outline.

Anything we receive  for salvation is based on our union with Christ.

We must understand that there are four "mysterious" unions in Scripture
     1. Substantial union
     2. Personal union
     3. Mystical union
     4. Evangelical union of all believers

Four metaphors for the mystical union with Christ
     1. Good wood,  1Cor. 6:17
     2. Grafter branch, Rom. 11:17
     3. Marriage, Eph. 5
     4. Members of one body united by one Head

Two bonds
     1. Holy Spirit, 1 Jn. 3:24
     2. Faith,  Eph. 3

It's nature
     1. Spiritual union
     2. Whole union (spirit & body)
     3. Real union
     4. Legal union
     5. Indissoluble union

It's benefits
     1. Justification
     2. Peace of conscience
     3. Peace with others
     4. Adoption
     5. Sanctification
     6. Mortification
     7. Vivification
     8. Growth in grace
     9. Perseverance

01 June 2011

Are You a Slow Reader? Me, too

John Starke at the TGC Blog has a great post giving advice for slow readers like myself. He suggests:

1. Read in 15 minute segments.

2. Get up 40 minutes earlier.

3. Use the odd times to read.

4. Read widely and more than one book at a time.

5. Work hard to finish a book.

Some of these work for me and some don't but I'm glad there is advice out there. Read the entire article here and let me know what you think.