Friday, May 29, 2009

One of the wonderful aspects of being an associate pastor is that I can preach to the church on Scriptures which relate to the congregation’s submission to and respect for the pastor/elders. And this is precisely what I did this week.

I exhorted and encouraged our folks with the extremely high and weighty responsibilities that God has sovereignly placed upon the overseer of the flock. I exhorted them from Psalm 23 and went to many different Scriptures and reminded them of the pastor’s responsibility to study, to preach, to meditate, to counsel, to reprove, to rebuke, to defend, and to model—no lightweight responsibility. Yet, with the strength that God provides, He will enable every leader in the church to be an example of Christ for the flock that God has entrusted to his care.

Many folks neglect to encourage their pastor on a regular basis. All pastors need this. How amazing it would be if individuals were to write a note simply telling the pastor that he’s being prayed for, or that a specific part of the sermon proved to be particularly helpful, etc. Trust me, I know that the pastor would receive much joy from an encouraging note or letter from his sheep affirming how God is using him in the lives of his people.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Here am I in my study with Kiah as I study German. He looks a little bored, but I think he's deeply pondering some of the verb paradigms . . . :=)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Our little Kiah arrived last night at 6:06pm weighing in at 9lbs 3oz! Mommy Kirkland says that Baby Kiah looks like her dad (I think that means I'm very plump with a round face!) :=)

Anyway, both mom and baby are doing fine and we praise the LORD for His steadfast love and His wonderful miracle that He has worked in our lives.

Psalm 127:3 3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
UPDATE (5-16-09 @ 5:15pm): We arrived home from the hospital a few hours ago and both mommy and Kiah are taking a nap while I work on my sermon for tomorrow morning! :=)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The past week has thrust me into a wonderful study on shepherding in ancient Israel. I'm preaching Psalm 23 tonight at our Mid-Week service and I'm excited (as always) to declare that which I've learned in my studies this week.

I'm convinced that Psalm 23 contains two metaphors, namely, God as a Shepherd and God as a Host. I'm attempting to delve deep into the historical context of a shepherd tending his flock in the rural and dry lands of Israel and drawing in applications throughout as to how God is The Great Shepherd of His sheep.

Finally, I'll conclude with a study on how Jesus is the perfect and complete fulfillment of Psalm 23 (cf. John 10:11). I'll post the link to the sermon tomorrow! I covet your prayers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm undertaking the task of learning Theological German. I've heard that April Wilson's work, German Quickly is the best book in this regard. The key to this book is that it is a grammar for reading German. Unfortunately, I'm not delving into the task of learning to speak or hear German. That's not very important to me.

I'm learning Theological German because there is a wealth of material available today in the theological arena that's only in German. Though many of the theological works in German have been translated into English (thankfully!), much has not. Many articles and books are in German and so, for my doctoral program, I'm learning German to supplement my studies at BBS.

Pray for me as I attend class and work through this book over the next month and a half. So far, I've got the alphabet down. I'd say I've got a ways to go! :=)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

“Sin is the Violation of an Infinite Obligation” —Puritan Prayer

I think that this is one of the most startling theological realities that our finite minds can meditate upon. The notion that every human being is a sinner destined for eternal judgment in hell for violating God’s holy and perfect Law proves to be a fundamental concept in the Scriptures—both OT and NT.

Taking this logic one step further, sin is not just a little “mistake” in the eyes of God. Sometimes this is how we as Christians treat our sin—with a trivial and cavalier attitude. The words: “Oh, it’s not that bad” or, “At least I didn’t do … sin” ought never to depart from the lips of a genuine Christian. The reason is this: sin is the violation of an infinite obligation. Sin—from the most heinous of murder cases to the “little white lie” or “pleasurable lust” is all sin of an infinite proportion which has violated the infinite obligation. Because we all must keep the Law perfectly to enter the Kingdom of God (Matt 5:48), then the contrary fact to this statement is that anyone who has violated even one small minutiae of the Law is worthy of an infinite punishment in hell.

Why the harshness of sin, you ask?

Simple. The violation of sin against the infinite obligation of God’s holiness demands an infinite punishment because the standard is the holiness of the One sinned against. Therefore, because God is infinitely holy and infinitely righteous and infinitely just, even one violation of that Law—no matter how small or great in our eyes—is a violation to the greatest degree because of the standard of holiness that God sets.

How great our God is that he has not left us wallowing in our sin and misery on the freeway to eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. Rather, he has provided the only way of escape for all human beings in the person of Jesus Christ. It is true that Christ has given us reason to give and reason to rejoice because of the sufficient sacrifice and infinite forgiveness offered to those who genuinely believe upon Christ. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

May you run to the cross of Calvary today where Jesus Christ laid down His life as the perfect Lamb of God who paid the sufficient sacrifice that you and I could (and will) never attain. Flee to Christ today. Repent of your sins—however great or small in your eyes. And then remember the infinite grace of God which God incessantly pours upon wretched sinners who come to Him in genuinely humility and repentance.

Monday, May 4, 2009

9 reasons why every young person should be actively involved in a local church:

You Build Solid and Lasting Relationships

    1. Acts 2:42

You should get more involved in a local church because this is the venue where you will build lasting, deep, and intimate relationships with other likeminded believers who love God, love His Word, and seek to obey Him. You will have friends that you can come to when times are rough and you need prayer; you will have friends with whom you can share encouraging stories.

  1. You Are Held Accountable by Church Leadership
    1. Heb 13
    2. 1 Thess 5

You should get more involved in a local church because this is where you will primarily be held accountable by your church leadership—your pastor and the elders. For a Christian, it is absolutely imperative to be under men of God who are sovereignly placed in the area of leadership to shepherd, guard, protect, and warn Christians. This is a non-negotiable in the Christian life. This is where accountability takes place. This is where spiritual growth happens. If one refuses to be under church leadership, then one has great reason to question as to whether they are really a Christian, because we are all called to be held accountable by other solid believers.

  1. You Are Confronted When You Stumble into Sin
    1. Matt 18
    2. Gal 6
    3. 1 Cor 5

You should get more involved in a local church because the friends that you have made, and the leadership that God has placed over you will know you, see how you live life, and encourage you when you’re growing and excelling, and they will also rebuke, discipline, and correct you when you wander off and fall into sin. The local church is the venue that God has sovereignly chosen for intimate relationships to help each other out and confront one another when another believer dips into sin or errs onto a wayward path.

  1. You Can Serve God Week to Week in a Specific Area
    1. 1 Cor 11
    2. Eph 4
    3. 1 Peter 4

You should get more involved in a local church because this is the body of Christ and God has gifted you with specific gifts and you can serve Him week to week in the local body of Christ. This is where you can have a “role” and a “responsibility” in doing work in God’s vineyard to help the body function properly and effectively. Faithfulness is the key here.

  1. You Can Faithfully Fill a Gap that Others Cannot Fill
    1. 1 Cor 11

You should get more involved in a local church because God has gifted you with specific gifts that he has not gifted to others. Perhaps you have a talent, gift, or passion for something or some area of the church that no one else in that local church has that same talent, gift, or passion for. God can use you and the desires that He has given you to serve Him in the local body of Christ.

  1. You Are Commanded to Be Involved by God
    1. 1 Cor 11
    2. Eph 4

You should get more involved in a local church simply because God commanded it. God has revealed in His Word that the body of Christ is where all men will be built up into the fullness and maturity of Christ. This is where God works and this is the primary means of evangelism and fellowship in the believer’s life. Therefore, God commands Christians to be involved in the local church. If you want to honor God and live a life of obedience to God and His Word, then you must be involved in a local church!

  1. You Can Hear God’s Word Taught Regularly and Clearly
    1. 2 Tim 4:1-4
    2. 1 Tim 4:13-17

You should get more involved in a local church because this is the primary venue where you can gather with God’s people and hear the faithful, accurate, and applicable exposition of God’s Word faithfully taught week by week. God has given pastors a solemn charge to preach the Word of God every week. Every time the pastor steps up to preach, he must deliver the word of God from the Word of God as the voice of God. You should be involved in the local church because—as a believer—you are hungry to learn more about God and about His Word to you (i.e., the Bible) and the local church is the primary avenue to which you will be fed God’s Word regularly.

  1. You Can Invite Friends and Schoolmates To Church and Introduce Them to Everyone.
    1. Matt 28

You should get more involved in a local church because this is the place where you can bring visitors, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, family members and other strangers to church and introduce them to your friends at church who will lovingly reach out to them and seek to extend the love of Christ to the visitor. This is an easy way to bring visitors and help them feel welcome. If you don’t know anyone at the church you attend, how hard it would be to invite others and introduce them to others there at church.

  1. You Remind Yourself that Church Involvement is So Important and Not an Option
    1. Heb 10:24-25
    2. Acts 2:42
    3. Heb 13:5

You should get more involved in a local church because church involvement—though time consuming—is a discipline of the Christian life. It’s easy to sit at home and watch TV or play video games. It’s a discipline to get up, gather the kids, get dressed, and drive to church weekly—even numerous times per week. It’s work; it’s a discipline; it’s hard; but it’s so rewarding. And in doing this “discipline,” you constantly remind yourself that you are making the conscious effort and deliberate choice to make church involvement a priority in your life. It should get to the point that nothing interrupts the gathering of believers together. This principle simply is an application of “disciplining yourself for godliness (1 Tim 4:7).

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