Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2010

good words at the inauguration of a new school semester

From David Alan Black: Students, this semester I'm looking for a Gideon's Band -- men and women who mean business. I do not intend this to be an exclusive club, however! Let me encourage each of you to commit your studies to the Lord -- and yourselves. Don't just "get by." Excel in all you do, for His glory. Do not wait for graduation to become "ministers." This very day, right where we are, we can serve Him. And that includes honoring Him with our minds. Remember: God is never pleased with mediocrity. "Holy shoddy is still shoddy" (Elton Trueblood). HT: David Alan Black's blog

don't overvalue this life

From the prince of preachers : ...[T]here can be such a thing as overvaluing this life, and multitudes have fallen into that error. Those overvalue it who prefer it to eternal life. Why, it is but as a drop compared with the ocean, if you measure time with eternity. Seventy or eighty years of dwelling here below, what are they when compared with infinite ages of existence in the presence of the Most High? I reckon that this present life is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. When men in fearful moments have denied the faith for the sake of saving their lives, they have overvalued this life; when to preserve themselves from the sword, or the fire, or the tortures of the rack, they have denied the name of Jesus, they have made a mistake and exchanged gold for dross. Alas, how many of us, in like condition, might have fallen into the same error! They overvalue this life who consider it to be a better thing than divine love, for the love of God is better

finishing Revelation tonight

Tonight I have the great privilege of finishing another book of consecutive expository preaching—Revelation. Actually, this is my second time preaching verse by verse through this masterful prophecy and I am planning to teach through it once more in the near future (as I'm hoping I can do dissertation material on it). My text tonight is Rev 22:10-21 on how to respond to Revelation (the book of and the entire biblical corpus) so that my hearers can make certain they are saved and "take the water of life without cost" (22:17). I pray that God is honored as Christ is exalted and His Spirit works through the heralding of His Word. Come, Lord Jesus (22:20). Revelation 22:12-13 — 12 Ἰδοὺ ἔρχομαι ταχύ, καὶ ὁ μισθός μου μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἑκάστῳ ὡς τὸ ἔργον ἐστὶν αὐτοῦ. 13 ἐγὼ τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος. ( Translation — Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me to render to each one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, th

oh how I love this day on our youth/college calendar...

new Bible study on HEAVEN in Simi Valley

For anyone interested, our Church is launching a new community group for those in Simi Valley. The Bible study begins tonight and the topic of study is HEAVEN . Click here for the proposed schedule of study. If you have any questions, email me or contact the church: 818.341.5750. Hope to see you there!

how to respond when the most devastating thing happens in your life...

Last night I had the privilege of teaching Psalm 74 . Psalm 74 may well be the most heart-wrenching psalm in the psalter thus far that we’ve studied. The Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar have ransacked Judea, Jerusalem, and utterly destroyed everything. They raided the Temple and burnt everything. Psalm 74 responds to this horrendous difficulty. If you were to ask any Jewish person what the most precious symbol of worship is to them they would immediately respond: the Temple. The Temple symbolized God’s presence and God’s protection. And for God to allow the (more!) wicked Babylonians to come and utterly destroy His people and His dwelling place on earth was utterly shocking for the Jewish people (and Habakkuk—just read his prophecy). The application I brought out last night at our study was this. When the most devastating disaster invades your life how do you respond? Psalm 74 gives the response of the psalmist (a descendant of Asaph). But how would you and I respond? Most of th

Context is key in Biblical interpretation...

Here's a great note from my reading this week: The first stage in serious Bible study is to consider the larger context within which a passage is found. Unless we can grasp the whole before attempting to dissect the parts, interpretation is doomed from the start. If I say, "Give it all you've got," you would rightly query, "What do you mean by 'it'?" and "How do I do so?" Without a situation to give the command content, it becomes meaningless. In Scripture the context provides the situation behind the text (Osborne, Hermeneutical Spiral , 21). For instance, I received an email this morning from a lady in our church asking me the following question: Who are the "great cloud of witnesses" surrounding us and why would it matter if they are there or not in order for us to throw off those things that hinder us? Why does he say SINCE we have the cloud then throw off... In difficult situations where we need to "grit" to do wh

Funny, interesting, theological, instructional note...

I received my class syllabus for my PhD seminar this Fall. The course is entitled: "Exegetical Studies of the Non-Pauline Epistles." I turn to the first page of the syllabus and the topic of study for the entire course is " An examination of the book of Hebrews." I guess that means my prof. is quite convinced Paul did not write Hebrews (as am I). I just thought that was quite funny. I am looking forward to delving into this magnificent treasure. Here's a part that excites my heart: Hebrews 1:1-4 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much b

why you should think much about heaven.

See my latest article on why you should think much about heaven . Many of these thoughts came from my sermon this morning. Psalm 16:11 In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.


Now what would you think if you were driving and saw this sign?

Some church ministry articles

As I've had time this summer (which hasn't been very much) I've tried to write a few one-page articles on various issues related to church ministry. Click on our website to check them out: The Ministry of Baptism The Ministry of Communion The Ministry of Preaching The Ministry of Public Prayer The Ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

We need Godly men to rise up. There are too many boys--or "bans"...

We live in a world full of males who have prolonged their adolescence. They are neither boys nor men. They live suspended between childhood and adulthood, between growing up and being a grown-up. Let’s call this kind of male Ban , a hybrid of both man and boy. This kind of male is everywhere, including the church and even vocational ministry. Neither Boys Nor Men Ban is a frightening reality in the church, but he is the best thing that ever happened to the video game and porn industries. Half of American males between the ages of 18 to 34 play video games every day —for almost 3 hours. The average video game buyer is 35 years old. Every second , $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography , 28,258 Internet users view pornography, and 372 Internet users type adult search terms into search engines. To no one’s surprise, men make up nearly 75% of Internet pornography traffic. Our society is overrun with males who aren’t men. Assuming the responsibilities of husband and father makes a

The importance of recognizing your sin.

Luke 5:31-32 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." The Pharisees constantly grumbled because Jesus ate with the outcasts and unclean of society—the prostitutes, the tax collectors, and others. On one occasion, Jesus remarked that it is not those who are well who need a physician but those who are sick. It's a very simple statement but in the physical realm no one would deny it. Everyone understands that it is only the sick who need the doctor and not those who are healthy! Jesus transitions this to the spiritual realm and, as he often does, shocks his hearers with statements that are hard to swallow. Just as a healthy person does not need a physician but only a sick person does, so does a righteous person (=spiritually healthy) person not need repentance but those who recognize their spiritual "illness"—sin.

Preaching on hell is hard but necessary.

Yesterday I preached one of the hardest sermons I've ever had to prepare and deliver. I titled my sermon: " Hell—A place of unending wrath, violent vengeance, striking conscience, banished isolation, and divine hatred ." My prayer beforehand was that I would not fear man . And praise God, I received some helpful and good feedback including many questions as well. It is perhaps the most neglected topic in today's contemporary churches and in modern day pulpits. Yet if we as pastors and shepherds truly loved the souls of our sheep then we would teach and not shrink back from teaching on this topic far more frequently that we often do. You may listen to the sermon on hell here .

why it is profitable to think often on hell.

We returned from our family vacation a couple of days ago and have been recovering since! While on the trip, I meditated on Jonathan Edwards' sermons on hell. At one point, he said that Christians must think on hell often. I would like to list a number of reasons why I think Christians should regularly meditate on hell. 1. It reminds you of the holiness of God . God is infinitely holy and nothing impure can be set before God's eyes (Hab 1:13). God is so infinitely holy that even the smallest offense against His holiness demands an infinite judgment. The holiness of God requires perfection. Obviously all human beings are unholy, defiled, stained, wretched, and wicked. Human sinners are enemies of God and fully deserving of all God's anger and violent justice for all eternity. God is love and God is merciful but these qualities of God by no means eliminate or trump the holiness, wrath, justice, and righteous anger of God for sin and violation of his Law. 2. It reveals the utt

DA Carson 14-part series mp3 lectures FREE

Free CD giveaway here . From The Gospel Coalition blog: On February 20-21 and 27-28, 2009, Don Carson presented a 14-part seminar entitled “The God Who Is There” at Bethlehem Baptist Church’s North Campus in Minneapolis. This series will serve the church well because it simultaneously evangelizes non-Christians and edifies Christians by explaining the Bible’s storyline in a non-reductionistic way. The series is geared toward “seekers” and articulates Christianity in a way that causes hearers either to reject or embrace the gospel. It’s one thing to know the Bible’s storyline, but it’s another to know one’s role in God’s ongoing story of redemption. “The God Who Is There” engages people at the worldview-level. Contents 1. The God Who Made Everything 2. The God Who Does Not Wipe Out Rebels 3. The God Who Writes His Own Agreements 4. The God Who Legis

A psalm for an old man.

Last night I had the wonderful joy of preaching Psalm 71 — "As you grow older, learn from an elderly saint how to pray." I felt as though the last week I was intimately mentored by an old man who has lived life, experienced God's faithfulness, lived through the hostility from vicious enemies, yet affirmed his trust in God. I have been greatly blessed this week by my old friend (who is anonymous, just see the Psalm's title, or lack thereof, for evidence!). I outlined the psalm by way of looking at how an old man prays . That is to say, we observed six prayers of this old man in Psalm 71: 1. You are my protection (1-4) 2. You have sustained me (5-8) 3. Don't forget me when I'm old (9-13) 4. Help me teach your truth to others (14-18) 5. You are unsurpassed in greatness (19-21) 6. You will hear my praise (22-24) Then, at the conclusion of the psalm, I noted 10 ways to pray that I learned meditating on Psalm 71: 1. The simplicity of the prayers (childlike faith

How You as a Churchmember Can Greatly Encourage Your Pastor

It is a good question to ask, since the more common discussion (rightfully so) is, “How can your pastor minister to you?” Well, for church members who appreciate your pastor and are wondering how you can regularly minister to him in a meaningful way–here it is: Send an email every Monday morning to both he and his wife and ask them how you can specifically pray for them this week. Simple. Doable. But make no mistake, very meaningful! How do I know this? Because 6 months ago (after pastoring my church for 6.5 years) one of our members felt led by God to take this task upon herself to pray for me and my family regularly. She has been faithful to do so, even while out-of-town. She sends my wife and I an email every Monday grateful for the previous Lord’s Day, then asks how she can be specifically praying for us both. Fewer things have made my wife and I feel so cared for and ministered to than this lady’s efforts. You might be surprised how infrequent the past

A fitting reminder of the cross and our conduct.

John Calvin writes: " Evil is so deeply rooted in our hearts that if we were told of our duty, it only half moves us. For this reason, St. Paul sets the example of God before us here [Phil 2:5ff]. He has forgiven us in his only Son. And without delay he adds our Lord Jesus Christ, who spared not himself when it was a question of our redemption and salvation. What, then, can break down all hardness in us, what can mortify all our excessive passions, what can correct all our cruelty, bring low all our pride and loftiness and sweeten all our bitterness, is to contemplate what God has done toward us. He has so loved the world that he has given up his only Son to death for us [John 3:16]."