28 September 2012

Stop Grumbling and Shine

    Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
(Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)

Elder Ray Gililland

27 September 2012

Why Do We Need the Creeds?

Really looking forward to this. Available on the 30th.

When We Complain...


  1. Express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.
  2. State that one is suffering from (a pain or other symptom of illness): "he began to complain of headaches".
I had coffee with a godly friend recently and during our conversation the subject turned to complaining, or better stated, how we both had a complaining spirit of late. I came home and remembered:

When we complain, we're loudly saying the blessings of the gospel aren't enough. We're saying that the death of Christ isn't enough. We're saying that eternal fellowship with God, purchased at great cost to God, isn't enough to satisfy our souls. we're saying that forgiveness of sins is nice, but not that nice. We're say that God "[has] not wisdom, or power or mercy enough" to provide for us.  We're saying that God himself, who is the very definition of goodness, isn't good enough. We would like a little something more, if you don't mind. God plus [insert desire of choice] should do the trick. When we complain, we accuse God of being stingy, not giving us enough. ...The only way to cut the nerve of complaining is to regularly and actively remember and savor and apply the gospel. (Taken from The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge, Crossway Books, page 72, emphasis added.)

What is that we complain about? Nearly everything. Our jobs, our coworkers, our friends, our enemies, our loved ones, our finances, and the list goes on. We (I) need to humble ourselves, confess our sin of grumbling and start afresh recalling the rich mercies found in the gospel.

    Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
(Philippians 2:14-15 ESV)


26 September 2012

Ephesians Study Week 5

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But 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—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

25 September 2012

Gheens Lectures with Carl Trueman

Many Thanks to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for graciously making these lectures available.

Theological and Biographical Foundations from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

The Word in Action from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

The Tools of the Trade from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

The God of All Comfort

    For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus...(2 Corinthians 7:5-6 ESV)

Gracious Father, the incidental pictures in the Scriptures are often as profound as the intentional promises. The story of a conflicted Paul tasting fresh comfort through the care of a good friend is timely. You sent Titus to Paul as surely as you send the rain to the earth. Thank you, Father, for reminding us even your most faithful servants—those who know you the best, those whose grasp of the gospel is a zillion times better than mine—even these men and women experience restlessness, fear, and weariness.
     Why should we be surprised with we experience emotional depletion, spiritual weariness and physical exhaustion? Thank you that the gospel is not a story of supermen and superwomen, but of ordinary sinners, saved by grace, offering the aroma of the gospel through our brokenness, weakness and utter dependence upon the God who raises the dead.
     At times I still labor under the myth of omni-competence. If I just prayed enough, believed enough, or was filled with the Spirit enough, I would never get discouraged or downcast. What a groundless lie. What a horrible burden.
     Thank you for comforting us when we’re downcast. You don’t deride us, chide us, or hide from us—you comfort us. You’re “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Thank you for the comforters you send us. Though you’re quite capable of sending ravens and rainbows as gifts of comfort, more often than not, you send a Titus to a Paul, or a Phoebe to a Paul (Rom. 16:1). You love to tell your story through your people.
     Father, on this glorious fall morning, help us to be honest about our weakness, expectant of your comfort, and thankful (and receptive) for whomever you send. And make us sensitive to the needs of others around me. In our weakness we may be more good to them than when we feel “on top of our game.” Who needs a word of comfort from another weary traveler? Show us, Father. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ compassionate and comforting name. - Scotty Smith

I think this is a common state for many of us. Life gets us down and we put more pressure on ourselves to be "omni-competent." This prayer is worded so well and mirrors many of our feelings perfectly. So let us praise God as He ministers to us through Christian friends. Don't deny yourself the comfort He provides.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
(2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV)

Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

24 September 2012

Philadelphia - Revelation 3:7-13

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
    “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Revelation 3:7-13 ESV)

21 September 2012

Suffering: God Tests - Proverbs 17:3

    The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
        and the LORD tests hearts.
(Proverbs 17:3 ESV)

20 September 2012

Our Deepest Need in Adversity

Like most of us, when I encounter a problem or trial or some deep affliction, I start plotting how to get myself through it and get relief. But my plans are not God's plans and 99.9% of the time my plans are thwarted. The Lord has something different in mind. I must constantly take myself back to Scripture and remind myself of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

    But he said to me, “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 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)

We're often meant to suffer through the trial and learn what the Lord has for us in it. Our first instinct to escape could not be more wrong. John Piper's comments serve us well here:

The deepest need that you and I have in weakness and adversity is not quick relief, but well-grounded confidence that what is happening to us is part of the greatest purpose of God on the universe - the glorification of his Son - the grace and power that bore him to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done. That's what God is building into our lives. (Quoted from Be Still, My Soul, Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering, Edited by Nancy Guthrie, Crossway Books, page 152.)

19 September 2012

Ephesians Study Week 4

    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
    (Ephesians 1:15-23 ESV)

18 September 2012

I Don't Understand Why

    I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 ESV)

We can and do spend a great amount of energy wondering why things happen. Why am I sick? What's all this going on in the middle east? Why did I lose my job? Why are my health insurance costs going up? Why did my good friend say that about me?  Why am I separated from those I love the most? Why is my church straying from orthodoxy? Why? Why? Why?

The truth is, we may never know why. It is good to look at Providence to try to understand but we often may not. At these times Os Guinness reminds us that, ..."If the Christian's faith is to be itself and let God be God at such times, it must suspend judgment and say, 'Father, I do not understand you, but I trust you.' ...Notice what this means. Christians do not say, 'I do not understand you at all but I trust you anyway.' Rather we say, 'I do not understand you in this situation, but I understand why I trust you anyway. Therefore I can trust that you understand even though I don't.'"

So as we scratch and claw our way through the trials of life let us take heart. R.C. Sproul wrote that, "God, in his providence, has the power and the will to work all things together for the good of his people. This does not mean that everything that happens to us is, in itself, good. Really bad things do happen to us. But they are only proximately bad; they are never ultimately bad. That is, they are only bad in the short (proximate) term, never in the long term. Because of the triumph of God's goodness in all things, he is able to bring good for us out of the bad. He turns our tradgedies into supreme blessings."

Let us rejoice friends and recall that "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I [Christ] have overcome the world."

(Both quotes above are taken from Be Still, My Soul, Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering, Edited by Nancy Guthrie, Crossway Books, pgs, 38 & 47.)

17 September 2012

Shine Like Stars For Christ - Philippians 2:12-16

    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
    Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, 
among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, 
so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
(Philippians 2:12-16 ESV)

Elder James Pavlic

16 September 2012

Seeing Jesus Everywhere in the Bible

Oh how I need this...

    Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
    (Luke 24:44-47 ESV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, eternal life is to know you, so I ask you to continue to do for me what you did for these men on the road to Emmaus; open my mind to see more of you everywhere in the Bible. You’ve begun this work, please expand and deepen it. Enable me read the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the psalms with you clearly in view.    
     Let me see you promised and prefigured; hidden and manifest in every text; as the shadow always present and as the substance coming in fulfillment; as my faithful substitute and as my glorious sovereign. Let me see you everywhere in the Scriptures, Lord Jesus.   
     For years I thought of the Law of Moses as rules and principles by which I could earn God’s favor and blessings, or at least micromanage my life for greater success. Now I understand that the law was given to drive us to you, Lord Jesus. It was never given as a basis of my acceptance with God. You fulfilled the law for us by your perfect obedience, and you’ve exhausted its judgment by your vicarious death. I wish I’d understood this earlier in my walk with you.
     I used to read the Prophets with a fear of judgment and great intrigue about the future of Israel. Now I realize that all of God’s promises point to you, Jesus. You are the “Yes” and “Amen” to every promise God has made. You are the final and faithful remnant of Israel, and in union with you, we have life—we have everything. The gospel of your kingdom claims the entire cosmos, not just the Middle East—not just old Jerusalem but the New Jerusalem as well; not just the first heaven and first earth, but the new heaven and new earth as well. What a great creator and gracious redeemer you are, Lord Jesus!   
     I’ve always loved the Psalms, but until recent years, I read them more with an appreciation for David than with adoration for you, Jesus. But you are the King installed by your Father, the one who inherits the nations and the ends of the earth (Psalm 2)—thus we are commissioned to go with you to all nations and to preach this good news in humility and with great hope.  
     Indeed, Jesus, continue to open my mind to understand how the entire Bible is a revelation of the gospel—the story of God’s commitment to redeem his people and restore the world by you. So very Amen I pray, in your loving and peerless name. - Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

15 September 2012

Being Mocked? Get Used To It

We need to have a clear understanding, in light of of what is happening in the Middle East, of what it means to be mocked. John Piper explains in this article from 2006

If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised: “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7). “He was despised and rejected by men . . . as one from whom men hide their faces . . . and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

...This was not true of Muhammad. And Muslims do not believe it is true of Jesus. Most Muslims have been taught that Jesus was not crucified. One Sunni Muslim writes, “Muslims believe that Allah saved the Messiah from the ignominy of crucifixion.” Another adds, “We honor [Jesus] more than you [Christians] do. . . . We refuse to believe that God would permit him to suffer death on the cross.” An essential Muslim impulse is to avoid the “ignominy” of the cross. (Read the entire article here.)

Can we expect anything less than our Savior? Our afflictions here are temporary and light compared to the glory we will have when in His presence. Gird up your loins friends. It is far from over.

14 September 2012

Suffering: God Knows

    Shall one who hates justice govern?
        Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,
    who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’
        and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’
    who shows no partiality to princes,
        nor regards the rich more than the poor,
        for they are all the work of his hands?
    In a moment they die;
        at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
        and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.
    “For his eyes are on the ways of a man,
        and he sees all his steps.
(Job 34:17-21 ESV)

11 September 2012

Suffering, Laxatives and Martin Luther

The devil has sworn to kill me, this I certainly know, and he will have no peace until he has devoured me. All right, if he devours me, he shall devour a laxative (God willing) which will make his bowels and anus too tight for him. Do you want to bet? One has to suffer if he wants to possess Christ. It would be easy indeed for us to triumph if we were willing to deny and calumniate [Christ]. Yet it is written: "Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). This is no longer just a word; it has become a reality, and we should act accordingly. Yet He is [here] who along with the tribulation brings about the escape for the faithful. (Taken from The Wit and Wisdom of Martin Luther by Eric W. Gritsch, Fortress Press, page 94.)

Though humorous, the above statement from the hand of Martin Luther carries much wisdom. And we as believers must embrace the tribulations that come our way. Whether sickness, financial crisis, loss of employment or any other miseries endured in this life, it is all from the hand of God for our good and His glory.


10 September 2012

Sardis - Revelation 3:1-6

    “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 
‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
    “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
(Revelation 3:1-6 ESV)

07 September 2012

Good Things & Bad People - Psalm 73 - Summer Psalms

Truly God is good to Israel,
        to those who are pure in heart.
    But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
        my steps had nearly slipped.
    For I was envious of the arrogant
        when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
    For they have no pangs until death;
        their bodies are fat and sleek.
    They are not in trouble as others are;
        they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
    Therefore pride is their necklace;
        violence covers them as a garment.
    Their eyes swell out through fatness;
        their hearts overflow with follies.
    They scoff and speak with malice;
        loftily they threaten oppression.
    They set their mouths against the heavens,
        and their tongue struts through the earth.
    Therefore his people turn back to them,
        and find no fault in them.
    And they say, “How can God know?
        Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
    Behold, these are the wicked;
        always at ease, they increase in riches.
    All in vain have I kept my heart clean
        and washed my hands in innocence.
    For all the day long I have been stricken
        and rebuked every morning.
    If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
        I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
    But when I thought how to understand this,
        it seemed to me a wearisome task,
    until I went into the sanctuary of God;
        then I discerned their end.
    Truly you set them in slippery places;
        you make them fall to ruin.
    How they are destroyed in a moment,
        swept away utterly by terrors!
    Like a dream when one awakes,
        O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
    When my soul was embittered,
        when I was pricked in heart,
    I was brutish and ignorant;
        I was like a beast toward you.
    Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
        you hold my right hand.
    You guide me with your counsel,
        and afterward you will receive me to glory.
    Whom have I in heaven but you?
        And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
    My flesh and my heart may fail,
        but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
        you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
    But for me it is good to be near God;
        I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
        that I may tell of all your works.
(Psalm 73 ESV)

03 September 2012

Thyatira - Revelation 2:18-29

    “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
    “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
    (Revelation 2:18-29 ESV)

Ken Ham Responds to the Humanist Guy

Nye's not as intelligent as he wants you to believe. Watch and learn for our kids' sake.

Stay right here. This is the video Ham recommends.