Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today I took some of my youth group out for pizza. We had - no joke - a food fight. But it wasn't with peas, carrots, or other nasty (ehhm.... "I mean, healthy") food. We had a food fight with peanuts. The greatest thing about it was that it was totally legitimate. Now I know that everyone wants me to tell you the restaurant because you are on the edge of your chair waiting to find out so you can close the internet browser, start your car, and go there.

But you'll just have to go here to find it.

Just to let you know, it is perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged!) to throw your peanut shells on the ground! :=)

PS -- Can I just say that I literally, hands-down, laid the smack down on Clint today. He could barely eat two pieces of pizza. Clint, I own you! :=)
I'm studying this morning for my Acts 5 sermon on Sunday and as I was studying, I came across this quote from Piper in one of his messages on Acts 5. It's a great nugget of truth and encouragement. Do we find encouragement and hope from simple - yet pregnant - thoughts in Scripture like Piper does here?

Last summer as I was finishing the book The Pleasures of God, one verse that guided a whole chapter and gave me tremendous hope was Psalm 147:11, "The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love." I think that's the best news in the world—that God is the kind of God who is happy with us not when we work for his approval but when we hope in his love.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Doesn't this look like the coolest youth group you've ever seen??
As R. Kent Hughes concludes in his great article,

Logos, Ethos, and Pathos are the key ele-
ments of exposition. What you
about the Word is everything. As a
preacher, if you believe the
Scripture is
wholly inerrant, totally sufficient, and
massively potent,
you will give yourself
to the hard work of biblical exposition.
belief and hard work are not enough,
however. You must let the Word of
course through your being, inviting the
Holy Spirit to winnow your
soul in order
to conform your life to the truth you are
preaching. God’s
Word must come out of
the inward affection of the heart without
affectation. When you stand to
preach, you must be drenched in
authentic passion that causes you to speak
with the utmost earnestness.
When you
gather the Logos, the Ethos, and the Pathos,
you are preaching
the Word, and the wind
of the Holy Spirit is in your sails. God’s
name is
lifted up, and God is glorified.

Read it all here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Many pastors fear that the practice of church discipline will drive people
away and ruin their churches. It will drive away those who love their sin, but
attract those who hate it and seek repentance and righteousness.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hint: I didn't even hit the target once!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.

To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.

Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible. . . . Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible. . . . Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?

There are many today, who believe the Bible, yet read it very little. Does your conscience tell you that you are one of these persons?If so, you are the man that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. Trial is a sifting experience. . . . Your store of Bible consolations may one day run very low.

If so, you are the man that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questions about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. The devil is an old and cunning enemy. He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases. Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to fight a good fight with him. . . . Your sword is held loosely in your hand.

If so, you are the man that is likely to make mistakes in life. I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about the company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals and sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar either with lighthouses or charts.

If so, you are the man who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of these clever eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.

All these are uncomfortable situations. I want you to escape them all. Take the advice I offer you today. Do not merely read your Bible a little—but read it a great deal. . . . Remember your many enemies. Be armed!

HT: Justin Taylor

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Anyone wanna come with me?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

After a week of fun up at Humelake with our youth group, I am dead tired. I direct you to our youth group webpage so you can see a few pictures giving you an idea of what we did this week. Blessings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fellowship on Earth Preparing for Fellowship in Heaven

One of the worst things God could ever do would be to allow a person to enter into heaven while hating fellowship with other Christians. For one thing, God never makes a mistake. Second of all, God will never allow one to be miserable in heaven. No one ever stumbles into the eternal Kingdom of God. No one enters into heaven with a quasi excitement about seeing God face to face. This simply does not happen.

Obviously, it is understood that God’s Word so clearly teaches that one enters heaven only through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ who was slain for the sins of those who would believe upon Him. He suffered and bore the extremities of divine wrath in place of those who believe in Him. Without this atonement, or covering, one will stand before the great Judge in that future Day without hope of entering into eternal bliss and will be cast into eternal hell.

With that said, however, one confirmation that assures me that I am a true believer is that I love fellowship with God’s people. Yes, of course I need to grow in this area and can (and should!) increase in my love for the saints all the more, but this morning I had a glorious time with one of my best friends in the faith. Though we have seen each other only once in the last year, it was as if nothing had changed and we had only spent a few days apart.

But the fellowship with this dear brother was so sweet that it helped assure me – again – that I am destined for heaven. Of course, I affirm that one does not enter into heaven because of the fact that he loves the saints. Rather I’m affirming that one enters into heaven because of Jesus’ death and resurrection and my faith and trust in Him with the effect that I have a passionate desire to fellowship with God’s own people. And that is what happened to me today.

I can’t understand how a person can dislike fellowship with Christians; not want to go to church; not want to hang out with “Christians” because they are “uncool;” etc. I would assert that someone who doesn’t love – yes, even long for – fellowship would be a miserable person in heaven. This, after all, is what will be one of the glorious joys of heaven. This is why we have names in heaven. Because there will be relationships, fellowship, love, communion, work, service, and life-on-life friendships.

In conclusion, therefore, hear me again, I am not affirming that fellowship is in any way a merit that earns one eternal life. But what I am saying is that fellowship is one of the surest proofs that a person has already been redeemed by Jesus Christ. Furthermore, if a person claiming to be a Christian dislikes fellowship with other Christians, then I would question if that person truly understands God’s Word and is really destined for heaven where there will be eternal fellowship with the Savior and other believers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Here are some words from one of my heroes, Robert Murray McCheyne, to a young minister in Christian ministry:
Do not forget the culture of the inner man - I mean of the heart. How
diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp; every stain he
rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God's sword, His instrument -
I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according
to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not
great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is
an awful weapon in the hand of God.
From: Andrew A. Bonar, Memoirs of McCheyne (Chicago: Moody, 1978), 95.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Are there really only a few saved?

According to the Bible, yes. Jesus Himself stated:

Matthew 7:13-14 13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 "For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

There are some stark contrasts here given by Jesus to paint this vivid picture before his disciples and the large crowds gathered on that mountain in the Galilee region. As is his custom, Jesus often gives startling contrasts to drive the unmistakable point home. And here that point is that there are only a few who will be saved. Yes, you heard Jesus correctly, only a few shall enter heaven whereas everyone else shall be doomed to eternal hell.

Listen to Jesus’ words: He commands the Jewish people there around him (including the most religious people of that day, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes) to “Enter by the narrow gate!” This presupposes that they have NOT entered this narrow gate yet. They are still living in Judaism. They are still trying to keep the Law – which is impossible (as Jesus shows through this Sermon on the Mount; cf. 5:48).

The next startling statement is that Jesus affirms that there is a broad path that leads to destruction (avpw,leia) and there are many who enter by it. This word for destruction is often used referring to hell. It does not mean that one will literally be “destroyed” as synonymous with annihilationism. Rather, it emphatically teaches that in hell a person shall have unending, physical and spiritual torture and heinous torments for all eternity – without end. Notice that those who enter destruction enter by both the wide gate and the broad way. Living as a “carnal Christian” will not lead to eternal live with Jesus Christ. No. On the contrary, walking on the broad path – the path the world accepts as the norm – will lead a person to destruction in hell.

But Jesus gives hope to these Jewish people. Indeed, he gives them the gospel! He tells them about the small gate! There is one path to salvation. There is only one gate leading to the Father. There is only one Savior who can save a sinful soul. That Savior is Jesus Christ! It is a narrow gate that saves a person. But Jesus continues. It’s not only enough for a person to enter through that narrow gate. Notice he says that the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life. There must be a way of living that is narrow. There must be a wholehearted devotion of life that affirms and confirms one’s entrance through that narrow gate. There is absolutely no room for habitual, sinful, pagan living in the Christian community according to Jesus.

It is my prayer that we would heed these verses and not only enter through the narrow gate, but also live life on the narrow path as we are devoted and committed to following Christ wherever he leads us. Remember this, there is ONE broad gate and ONE narrow gate. Many will enter through the broad gate and few will enter through the narrow gate. Test yourselves today! See if you are in the faith – unless of course you fail the test! Repent today! Today is the day of salvation!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Isaiah 45:12 "It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host.

Isn't God great?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

So, let's just agree at the getgo that we shall not exhaust this study today. However, I found a great post over at the Pyromaniacs blog which I thought would be of help to the readers here. Here is the conclusion:
Here, in one final enumeration, is what I take from this:
God gives
believers' prayers a significant place in His plans.
We should never downplay
the importance of approaching God in prayer, Biblically
It is the height of folly to let circumstance or human
reasoning discourage us from bringing our petitions to God. In other
Let God say "No, I have a better plan," rather than, "Since you did
not ask (James
Read it here
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