Thursday, December 29, 2011

Join us for CFBC's Super Study.

Friday, Dec 30th @ Pastor Geoff's house | 7-9pm.
Our topic is: Is the Bible Really Sufficient for All of Life?

Bring your questions for a time of discussion & examining God's Word to see how God's Word speaks to various issues.

Five particular areas of how God's Word is currently being attacked will be the primary focus of the time. Join us; bring your friends; and your questions.

It will be recorded and you'll be able to listen to & download it from our church website.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Let's take heed to this text of Scripture which God gives to His people:

Zechariah 8:16-17 16 'These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. 17 'Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I HATE,' declares the LORD."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can anyone guess where this picture was taken?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hear this exhortation from the 18th century but it is certainly just as relevant now as it was then:

"It is to parents that the injunction is delivered, "thou shalt teach these words to thy children diligently, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house," and, "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." No pastoral attention should be intended, nor can be adapted, to supersede or interfere with this solemn parental obligation. But the pastor should labour to the uttermost to urge and keep the parents of his flock up to the right discharge of their duty.

There are few of us who are not sorrowfully convinced that little is too be expected from our sermons in the pulpit, or our instructions in the class-room, while all our endeavours are so miserably counteracted by the neglect of domestic instruction, and the want of parental solicitude. It is not intended to justify pastoral neglect by advancing the obligations of parental duty, for perhaps we all have been, and are, guilty of a criminal defect of duty, in not giving more of our time and attention to the children of our congregations; but even the time and attention we do give, is likely to be lost, through the low state of religion in the homes and some of our people.

We might very naturally expect that our churches would be chiefly built up from the families of our members; whereas the greater number of accessions are from those who were once the people of the world. There is a great mistake on this subject, into which both parents and ministers have fallen; and that is, that the conversion of the children of the professor is to be looked for more from the sermons of the minister, than from the instructions of the parent; whereas the contrary is the true order of things; and if domestic piety and teaching were what they ought to be, it is the order which would be found to exist. There is unquestionable truth in the proverb: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Were the nature and design of the domestic constitution thoroughly understood, and its religious duties early, judiciously, affectionately, and perseveringly discharged, the greater number of our young people would be converted to God at home. Were all religious professors who are parents, real and eminent Christians; were they, from the time they became parents, to set their hearts upon being the instruments of their children's conversion; were they to do all that prayer, instruction, discipline, and example could do, for the formation of the religious character of their offspring; and were they carefully to abstain from every thing which would obstruct that end, it might be confidently expected that it would be within the hallowed precincts of such homes, and not in the sanctuary, that the children of the godly would usually become godly themselves. It should then be, and will be, an object with every truly earnest pastor, to bring up the parents in his church to a right sense and faithful discharge of their functions."

So convicting & it drips with biblical authority, truth, and persuasiveness! Let us be faithful parents to train up our children in the ways of the LORD with all vigilance and earnestness!

From John James, An Earnest Ministry, 154-56.
From James Smith (mid 19th. century):

Jesus loved, labored, suffered, bled, died, rose, ascended, and intercedes--to save His people from their sins! He is the perfect husband who . . .
brings us into marriage-union with Himself,
provides for all our necessities, and
assures us of His unalterable love!
He gives us . . .
His arm to support us,
His fullness to supply us,
His name to entitle us,
His robe to cover us,
His angels to guard us,
His Word to assure us, and
His Heaven to be our habitation at last!

Now this must launch us to Ephesians 5:25ff where we learn that, as husbands, we must strive to love our wives just as Christ loves His own.

How are YOU doing with this kind of shepherding, kind, selfless, protective, God-centered husbanding?

Friday, December 23, 2011

From a pastor to the men of his congregation. I think it is absolutely right on.



I can’t believe how ridiculous this is, but I am writing tonight to urge you to take your families to church on Sunday, December 25th. Before it is a holiday, before it is a family gathering, before it is anything else it is a Sunday: a day set aside by God himself to worship. It is a day that your elders have called the church together to worship. It is a day that you should be actively planning to take your family to church.

There is no excuse, not one, for not taking your family to church on Sunday. There may be some of you who will be out of town; find a church and take your family there. There will be some of you who are in town; you know where and when we meet. There is no reason for missing church on Christmas Day. In fact, a good argument can be made that of all the days to worship God, we should worship on Christmas Day. If we do not you are telling your family, your wives, your children, and your neighbors that Christmas isn’t really about Jesus at all. It will instead be about you, your family, your traditions, gifts, parties–everything that you will spend the next 12 months complaining about.

Some of you are part of extended families who have already made plans. Let me offer this piece of advice: be a man. Man up and tell your extended family that you are looking forward to seeing them and spending time with them but first you will take your family to church. It is your duty as a husband and father; it your responsibility; it is also your privilege.

This morning we read of King Ahaz in Isaiah 7 who despised the promise of the presence of God. It is easy for us to sit in judgment of the stupidity and hubris of Ahaz. But are you in danger of doing much the same thing? God promises to meet you and your family when you worship him. What possible reason can you have for turning away from that promise? What message does that send to your children?

I didn’t think I would have to write this email, but after several different conversations with people who could go to church on Christmas but are not going to, I felt I had no choice. It is my divine duty to call you out. This is not the life of discipleship that you are called to; this is not the obedience that you are obliged to; this is not what I want the men and potential leaders of _______ to be known for.

Go to church.

Pastor _____

HT: Out of the Horse's Mouth

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 Timothy 4:2 — preach the word; be ready in season and out of season (κήρυξον τὸν λόγον, ἐπίστηθι εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως)

Amos, the prophet from Tekoa in Southern Israel, was called by God to prophesy doom and judgment upon the people of Northern Israel because of their social injustice, false & idolatrous worship, and wickedness.

He just warned Israel through visions (ch.7) that God would come and severely judge His people. Then in 7:9 Amos said that the high places will be desolated, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste, and God will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

A prophet named Amaziah then went to King Jeroboam II and said that Amos has conspired against him (7:10, 11). Then Amaziah the prophet responded to Amos and said:

Amos 7:12-13 — Then Amaziah said to Amos, "Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! "But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence."

Amos was not wanted in Bethel. The rich, the famous, the powerful, & the royal wanted nothing to do with Amos nor the Word from the LORD. This is the example of preaching "out of season" — when the Word of God is not wanted.

But Amos replied saying that he is not a prophet, nor a son of prophet (not from a prophetic lineage) but rather the Lord sovereignly took Amos from shepherding the flock & God commanded him to go prophesy to the people Israel (7:15).

I love the contrast in the following verses:

v.16 - Amaziah the prophet says that you shall not prophesy or speak against the house of Israel.

v.17 - But the Word of the Lord says that: (1) Amaziah's wife will become a harlot; (2) his sons & daughters will die; (3) the land will be parceled up by a measuring line & you will die on unclean soil; and (4) Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.

Amos faithfully preached God's Word even when it was not wanted — he preached the Word when it was "out of season." May we so learn from Amos & do the same!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

(sorry about the kids sticking out their tongues;
who taught 'em that??)
As of yesterday afternoon, our family made a transition in our life & ministry. After a decade of being in LA, a new ministry opportunity opened up to serve as pastor of Christ Fellowship Bible Church in St. Louis.

After packing the moving truck, getting our car shipped, renting a car, and a two-day R&R at a beach-house, we all finally arrived in St. Louis last night where my parents happily met us & drove us to their house.

Today we go to our rental house which, in God's providence, is very close to the church we'll be meeting at so that we can have a walk through with our property manager. Then the moving truck arrives so we can unload everything.

I'm still working on my sermon for this Sunday but the text is on 2 Timothy 3:16-17—one of the most important texts in all of the Bible.

Elizabeth and I are excited to church-plant, ready to see God's power at work in ways that we never anticipated, expectant of many trials and hardships, and an overwhelming commitment to biblical, gospel-centered, Christ-exalting ministry at CFBC.

If you're in the STL area, come join us for the following upcoming events:

Sunday, December 18th @ 9:30am (STL Marriott West Hotel)
Sunday, December 25th @ 10:00am (Kirkland House)
Friday, December 30th @ 7:00pm for our Super Study (Location TBD)

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

(I will also post it in the Greek because of the emphatic wording: Τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑπὲρ πάντα ποιῆσαι ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ ὧν αἰτούμεθα ἢ νοοῦμεν κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἡμῖν, 21 αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς πάσας τὰς γενεὰς τοῦ αἰῶνος τῶν αἰώνων, ἀμήν.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"You hate all workers of iniquity!" Psalm 5:5

"It is not a little dislike--but a thorough hatred which God bears to workers of iniquity. To be hated by God is an awful thing. O let us be very faithful in warning the wicked around us, for it will be a terrible thing for them to fall into the hands of an angry God!" Charles Spurgeon

"What a vile thing is sin, which makes the God of love and Father of mercies--into an enemy to His creatures; and which could only be purged by the blood of the Son of God!" Thomas Adams

"Not only the work--but worker of iniquity also becomes the object of His hatred." William Gurnall

"Those whom the Lord hates, must perish. What is more due to such impenitent sinners, than hatred? What is more proper than wrath--since they treasure up wrath? Will He entertain those in the bosom of His love--those whom His soul hates? No! Destruction is their portion. What is that which Christ hates? As Christ hates iniquity, so also the "workers of iniquity." David Clarkson

"If God's hatred is against the workers of iniquity--then how great is it against iniquity itself! If a man hates a poisonous creature--he hates poison much more. The strength of God's hatred is against sin--and so should we hate sin, and hate it with all our strength! Sin is an abomination unto God--let it be so unto us!" William Greenhill

This is a hard text to conceive of because it goes totally against everything that our culture blasts in our face about our self-worth and self-worship. Nevertheless, it is in the Bible. There is no way around it.

It is only when that sinner — who once was hated by God — is saved by God regenerating him & by repenting of his sin that he is transferred from being an enemy of God (=being hated by God) to being a friend of God (=being sovereignly loved by God).

Oh what a motivation for evangelism, prayer, & earnest pleading with sinners to repent & believe the gospel!

Monday, December 5, 2011

You know the story. Daniel 2 recounts the historical situation where King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon requested that the "wise" men of his empire reveal the dream and the interpretation that was troubling him. Obviously, they couldn't do it. So the King's order remained. All the wise men are to be killed because of their inadequacy to fulfill the King's command.

But Daniel heard about this and went before the King and asked for some time so that he may make known the interpretation of the King's dream.

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision (2:19). *NOTE* the very first thing Daniel did was to pray to the Lord and acknowledge God's utter sovereignty.

He did not (first!) run and tell the king so as to save his life. He could have (and, perhaps, many of us would have done that). But he rather took the time to pray and acknowledge that it was God who revealed the dream and its interpretation.

In Daniel's prayer (2:20-23), some amazing theological truths are mentioned:

1. God and His "Name" (=character, being, attributes) are to be praised forever (2:20a).

Not Nebuchadnezzar and his "power", but the God of Israel and His intrinsic and sovereign power is to be praised!

2. Wisdom and power belongs only to the God of Israel (2:20b).

Nebuchadnezzar thought he was quite strong & impenetrable but true wisdom and power resides only with the one, true God of heaven!

3. God and God alone is the one who can change seasons, kings, and empires according to His prerogative (2:21a).

As God will reveal to Nebuchadnezzar, it is God who sets up kings and tears them down. It is God who raises empires and destroys them. All according to His will.

4. God gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding (2:21b).

Nebuchadnezzar's servants couldn't reveal the dream and its interpretation to the King. In fact, they acknowledged this when they said: "there is not a man on earth who could declare the matter to the king (2:10).

5. It is God who can reveal the profound and hidden things. Even darkness cannot be hidden from Him; only light dwells with Him (2:22).

Even the inner thoughts of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be hidden from God. Even that which he didn't even understand was understood plainly and comprehensively by God. Nothing is darkness to God.

6. God is worthy of all thanks and praise (2:23a).

Nebuchadnezzar certainly is not worthy of worship or adoration (as he so desires; cf. Dan 2 and 3). But the God of heaven is worthy of all thanks, praise, and worship!

7. God answers the requests of His people according to His will (2:23b).

God was well-pleased to answer Daniel's request in this matter in the affirmative. God would have been good *if* he had not revealed the dream and its interpretation, but God so chose to reveal it to Daniel to show that God is the one, true God who can in fact reveal mysteries that are not only within human beings (=Nebuchadnezzar) but also regarding the future of human history (2:36ff).

What a theologically loaded prayer. What a sovereign God! What a great lesson that the first thing that Daniel did was to pray and acknowledge thanks and praise to God. Then he went to Nebuchadnezzar and revealed his dream and its interpretation.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

From John Stott:

It is God himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating, and God himself who in the person of his Son died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus, God took his own loving initiative to appease his own righteous anger by bearing it his own self in his own Son when he took our place and died for us. There is no crudity here to evoke our ridicule, only the profundity of holy love to evoke our worship.

(John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 175).

What infinite mystery to the grace & mercy of God upon such sinners like you and me!
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