Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Gospel Thought

Your sin was dark, but God changed that!

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a great day celebrating thanksgiving...

Above all, take time today to thank God for sending His Son, that we might be freed from ourselves to live for Him.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Under Our Skin

An important race conversation happened last night at the Gospel Coalition:

Take a few minutes to watch this and consider how this might be relevant for you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Weekend Preview - Son Sent As Savior of the World

I love the connection that Danny Akin makes, glorying in how the Father sent His Son as the world's Savior.  In 1 John, we see many things the Father has accomplished by His Son.

In the Son the Father...

  • revealed the word of life (1 John 1:1)
  • brought eternal life (1 John 1:2)
  • cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)
  • gave us an advocate (1 John 2:1)
  • propitiates our sin (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10)
  • gives us an example to follow (1 John 2:6)
  • sent the Messiah (1 John 2:22-23)
  • makes possible the new birth (1 John 2:29)
  • sent the righteous and sinless One (1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:4)
  • takes away our sin (1 John 3:5)
  • destroys the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8)
  • sacrificed His Son (1 John 3:16)
  • gives us life (1 John 4:9)
As you think about Thanksgiving this week and anticipate our time in the word this coming Lord's Day (1 John 4:13-16), why not praise the Father for what He's accomplished by His Son.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Weekend Recap - God Is Love

My 11/22/15AM Sermon, God Is Love from 1 John 4:7-12, is now online.  I love how big this truth of God's love works through the lives of those who are believers.  Here's one quote I used from Paul Tripp:

“If you ceased to love, you’d be an unpleasant human being but you would cease to be human.  The same cannot be true of God, though.  If He ceased to love, He’d cease to be God, because He IS love.”

Because God is Love, we are compelled to act in very specific and pointed ways.  This sermon tried to tease out some of these and I hope it proves helpful for you.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday's Gospel Reality - Condemnation (or Lack Thereof)

If you're trusting Christ today...

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
(Romans 8:1)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Syria, Immigration and Some Things To Think About...

Lots of conversation is happening about the Christian view on welcoming Syrian refugees.  Some Christians say we shouldn't put ourselves in positions of danger (however elusive that category is).  Other say, it's simple: we love others so we should welcome them.  Here's an article and a video that get at some things to Christians may think about...

First off, Kevin DeYoung wrote on how Immigration Policy Must Be Based on More Than An Appeal to Compassion.  One part that stood out to me in this:

Our church has always had a vibrant international ministry and we’ve rallied around families trying to work through the labyrinth of U.S. immigration policies so they can stay in the country legally. I too am turned off by the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric that sounds more like Pharaoh in Exodus 1 than the “love the sojourner” commands in Deuteronomy 10. It is a commendable response to see hurting people and think, “Let’s do all we can to help.”
And yet, this good Christian impulse runs the risk of taking an extremely complex geo-political, international crisis and reducing it to pious platitudes about showing compassion to the least of these and not giving in to fear. As I said at the beginning, I don’t have a plan to fix our broken immigration system and I don’t know the “correct” number of Syrian refugees to welcome into the country, but I do think there is more than one way for a Christian to approach these issues.
But, read the whole thing and make up your own mind.  There is a tension here, it seems.

I was also helped by this video, though.  Take 5 minutes and consider this counsel:

I hope these things are helpful to you as you seek to navigate this difficult issue.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Are You Diagnosing Your Marriage?

Kevin DeYoung provided 10 Diagnostic Questions for marriages this past week.  Maybe they would prove helpful for those who are married:

1. Do you pray together? 
2. Do you still notice each other? 
3. Do you ever hold hands? 
4. When is the last time you said “I’m sorry”? 
5. When is the last time you said, “Thank you”? 
6. When is the last time you planned a surprise? 
7. When is the last time you embarrassed the kids together? 
8. When is the last time you went out and talked about something other than the kids? 
9. What would others think about your spouse just by listening to you speak about him or her? 
10. Do you think more about what you aren’t giving or about what you aren’t getting?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Weekend Preview - Loving One Another Because God Is Love

This coming Lord's Day (11/22 to be precise), I hope to be preaching from 1 John 4:7-12.  This passage repeatedly (see vv.7, 11 and 12) calls us to love one another because God is love.  Here is a great action step to take as you think about this passage from Steve Lawson:

"Pause for a moment and take a hard look at your life.  

Behind your claim to be a Christian...

Do you posses a genuine love for other people?

Do you really?  

Are you a kind and forgiving person?

Do you consider the interests of others more important than your own?

Do you see yourself reaching out to people who are hard to love?"

(from Absolutely Sure, p.97).  

I hope you come eager to hear God's Word this Sunday.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekend Recap - Test The Spirits

My 11/15/15AM sermon, Test The Spirits (with Small Group Questions) from 1 John 4:1-6, is now online.  It's nearly impossible to question someone's spirituality in the day and age we live in.  Everyone gets a "whatever works for you" pass.  But, God seems to have some sort of standard.  And, this sermon was my attempt to deal with what this standard is.  I hope it encourages you and helps you live.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Lil' Friday Gospel Reminder

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Red Cup?

A big issue that emerged this past weekend had to do with the lack of Christmas promotion on Starbucks red Christmas cups.  Here's a link I found most helpful:

When We Love Outrage More Than People by Ed Stetzer

A quote:
Folks, we really need to calm down. If you've posted an outraged Facebook update, take it down.
Starbucks cups are red because of the Christmas season. Starbucks is not persecuting you. Starbucks may be attempting to respect those who don't celebrate Christmas—and that's OK. That's their choice. They're a business that exists to serve all customers without preference, regardless of what winter holidays they do or do not celebrate. If they choose to do that by means of a plain, red cup, that's their call.
I'm not going to opine on all the motives behind a solo red cup, but, perhaps this is because our society is becoming more secular (even though Starbucks has other Christmas-themed products available). If it is, we still need to learn to live together in our society.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Godly Leadership In the Home

I was encouraged earlier this week to listen to Heath Lambert's podcast on Godly Leadership in the Home.

Maybe this would be something that would benefit you, as well.  This brief audio in an interview with Heath Lambert and Stuart Scott.  I love how the counsel to pursue Godly leadership flows out of realities that are in the Gospel.   Further, guys are encouraged to not be passive and even paralyzed by the calling, but are encouraged to seek out what leadership may look like in the Bible.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coming This Sunday - Test The Spirits

This coming Lord's Day, we plan to look at 1 John 4:1-6 and it's call to test the spirits.  If you have time, here's the passage: 

[1] Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. [2] By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, [3] and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. [4] Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. [5] They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. [6] We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

  I love what Piper says this means for believers in his sermon Test The Spirits to See Whether They Are From God:

For believers the lesson is twofold.

  1. Do not take credit for your listening ear or your confessing heart or your correct view of Christ. Give credit to the Spirit who is in you, and give God the glory.
  2. When you are threatened by any deception of the evil one—any temptation, or discouragement, or anxiety, or cowardice—remind yourself that "he who is in you is greater than he that is in the world." Almighty God abides within you. Trust him. For this is the victory that overcomes the world, your faith (5:4) in the sovereign indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
I hope these things encourage you to dig in to what we'll consider this coming Sunday.  

Monday, November 09, 2015

Weekend Recap - Bible Intensive and the Dangers of Declension

Wrapped up a huge weekend at Crestview.

Before that, though, I was blessed to serve my family on Friday as Meg's great aunt passed away.  The memorial service was Friday afternoon in Coldwater, KS.  I tried to encourage them with the truth of Jesus being the Resurrection and the Life.  It was a great time remembering lost loved ones with them.

I hustled back to Hutch for a Bible Intensive Retreat with Jim Elliff and Kole Farney.  Our Elders had benefitted from this earlier in the year, so we met as Elders and Deacons with Jim and Kole to think about John 10 together.  It was rich fellowship seeing Jesus is the Door, the Good Shepherd, The Christ, and the Son of God -- truths that must be responded to.

Jim graciously filled the pulpit for me on Sunday morning with a sermon out of many passages in Hebrews on the Dangers of Declension.   We included Jim's handout 5 Resolves for Personal Revival in the bulletin.  I know God used this sermon to call me out of staleness to vibrancy and I'm praying God uses this entire weekend in our body to awaken us to the realities of who He is and what He's done for us.