Monday, October 27, 2014

Shaped by Grace

My 10/26/14AM sermon, Shaped by Grace from Romans 12:1-8 is now online.  This sermon honed in on how God's grace is on the move to shape our relationships with God, ourselves and one another.  I personally felt it exposed some areas of my life that had grown stale or cold and needed reshaped by grace.  So, I'm hoping God was at work through His Word to give you encouragement through this.  Have a terrific week.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekend Recap - Glory of Overflowing Grace

My 10/19/14AM sermon, Glory of Overflowing Grace from Romans 11:33-36, is now online.  In this sermon, on one level I try to showcase God who is rich in mercy and how that mercy demonstrates that He is the most glorious being in the world.  On another level, I'm engaging my hearers to reckon with the God of the Bible who is the most unique person of all.  He's is categories all to Himself and His actions call for all that we are.  All things are to the glory of God.  I hope this sermon helps you awe God in deeper ways and glorify Him as the supreme one in your life.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Forty

I have a big birthday today.  40.

One thought I had was all that Ecclesiastes has to say about youth, age and days:

I only have a few days from God to make the most of life on this earth. (Ecclesiastes 6:12)
All the days God gives me are to be used to live a full life. (Ecclesiastes 6:3)
I should pursue joy with my life. (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
I should try to do good all the days God gives me on this earth. (Ecclesiastes 2:3)
I should be careful with what I give my heart to in the days of my youth. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

I've been, by God's grace, able to live a full life so far.  I'm blessed beyond anything I deserve with a faithful wife, fun children, a job full of joy, a work that is beyond this world and a life that is rich.


I also think about the mortality of days.  I asked my Mom and others some facts about my dad and grandfathers when they were 40 and the churches they were pastoring at the time.  At age 40...

My dad was pastoring Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis, MO and I was a sophomore in high school.
My Gpa Auxier was pastoring in Sterling, IL and would soon move to Mt. Vernon to pastor a church he would retire from (and my dad was either graduating or about to graduate high school).
My Gpa Lemay was enjoyed a fruitful ministry at Park Avenue Baptist in Mt. Vernon (and my Mom was a sophomore in high school).

Why these facts?  Because these men are gone.  My dad would pass away at 48 and both of my grandfathers have passed away in recent years.  To know the lives they lived makes my desire to make every day count all the more pressing.


So, thanks for indulging my meditations on this birthday.  Would you mind praying for me, that God's grace would flow in the next chapters as free and rich as it has in these first few?  Ask God to make my life useful for His purposes and for the good of others.  Thanks.




Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend Recap - Matt Perman's Visit

We enjoyed a great weekend at Crestview yesterday (10/12/14).  Matt Perman of What's Best Next was at church serving our people.  During Sunday School, Matt visited with the class we have working through his book, fielding some questions and offering up solid answers.  The class seemed energized through the content we were engaging.

Matt preached during the AM service from Ephesians 6:5-9 on a Christian View of Work.  This sermon really challenged us with a biblical vision of work that helps us do all that we do for the glory of God and the good of others.

Later in the day, Matt spoke at our annual Men and Boys Chili Supper.  He gave an apologetic for Christianity through the lens of time management in what I labeled a TED(like) Talk.

Like I said, many enjoyed this full day with Matt.  I was grateful to have some unhurried time of fellowship with Matt and left encouraged and challenged to work more fully for the good of others.  It was a great weekend.  Hope you enjoy the audio and take advantage of the practical information on Matt's site, What's Best Next.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Weekend Recap - Strong In Grace

My 10/5/14AM sermon, Strong In Grace from Romans 11:11-32, is now online.  This sermon teased out how God strengthens His church by grace.  Specifically, that middle section highlighted how God calls us to humility as a response to His kindness.  It's difficult to talk about humility because we often don't prize this as a virtue, but God has a different way of doing things than we might envision.  I tweeted out this AM: "How are you demonstrating humility in what you text, post, and say today? (hint: try not using ALL CAPS as a start)".   If you don't know using all caps online is like screaming.    At any rate, it's easy for me to be prideful in speaking of the pride in others, but often more difficult to recognize the pride in my own heart.  Pray for me in this regard that I would model humility in my words and  actions.  Listen to this sermon and see if it encourages you.  Blessings.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

LRC Email - 3 questions with Bob Bush

Here's my latest installment for Leadership Reno County alumni...

In this, Bob Bush answers the following questions:
1) Our program defines leadership as "mobilizing people to do difficult work."  How have you seen this definition at work in our community? 
2) How does having a clear purpose flesh itself out in your life? 
3) How do you work to build bridges between parties that disagree in our community? 
Hope this is encouraging to your work in leadership.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

H2Go post: Cup of Cold Water

Here's a post I wrote for our church's missions blog:

It's our privilege to dispense Gospel Compassion to the world.  Our logo here gets at Jesus words...
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward!" Matthew 10:42 

Here's what Spurgeon says on this...
Well, I can do as much as that. I can do a kind act toward the Lord's servant. The Lord knows I love them all, and would count it an honor to wash their feet. For the sake of their Master — I love the disciples. 

How gracious of the Lord to mention so insignificant an action — even a cup of cold water! This I can do, however poor; this I may do, however lowly; this I will do cheerfully. This, which seems so little, the Lord notices — notices when done to the least of His followers. 

Evidently it is not the cost, nor the skill, nor the quantity, that He looks at — but the motive. That which we do to His disciple, because he is His disciple — the Lord observes, and recompenses. He does not reward us for the merit of what we do — but according to the riches of His grace. I give a cup of cold water — and He makes me to drink of living water. I give to one of His little ones — and He treats me as one of them. Jesus finds an apology for His liberality, in that which His grace has led me to do, and He says, "He will certainly not lose his reward!"

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine — you did for Me!" Matthew 25:40


Today, who are those that need to know the reaches of your Gospel Compassion?  Why not GO to them?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Recap - Mercy

My 9/28/14 sermon, More Merciful from Romans 11:1-10, is now online.  In this sermon, I tried to demonstrate how God's mercy is often more than we could imagine.  It's expressed more widely and shown to more people and probably revealed in ways that surprise us.  I hope it was encouraging to those who heard it.  Have a great week thinking about God's mercy.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekend Recap - Gospel Response

My 9/21/14AM sermon, Gospel Response from Romans 10:14-21, is now online.  In this sermon, I sought to show how neither God's Word nor His saving intentions had failed, but that the God who is overflowing in mercy demands a response to the good news that He's made known to others.  This sermon helped call for a response from both believers and unbelievers to the message of the Bible.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Weekend Recap - Christ Is The End

My 9/7/14AM sermon, Christ The End, from Romans 9:30-10:4 is now online.  This sermon was a deep one for me, one that I care about.  I think Romans 10:4 is close to what some may call a life verse.  It speaks of Christ being the point, the destination, the signpost of everything.  He's the end of righteousness (the destination of what it means to be in a right relationship with God) for those who believe.  Having Him is everything.   I hope this sermon helps you (should you choose to listen) and encourages you to more deeply glorify the God who made you for Himself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good News for Weary Women - 3 Questions with Elyse Fitzpatrick

I'm very grateful for the work and ministry of Elyse Fitzpatrick.  Our Elders have been helped as she encourages readers to Counsel From The Cross.  As I'm preaching through Romans, her devotional book has brought great Gospel vision to my understanding of God's heart.  Her latest book Good News for Weary Women helps women find hope in the liberating message of the Gospel.  I had the chance to ask Elyse three questions about her latest book and here's how she answered...

1) When you are writing for weary women, who are the women you anticipate serving through this particular project?

"In writing to weary women I primarily anticipate serving women who are serious about their faith and who listen very carefully when they hear messages about what they should be doing to fulfill what they believe is their calling. Of course, women who are not terribly concerned about what God wants them to do are weary also, but they aren't my primary audience. And yes, of course, they need to know about the good news of God's love for them in Christ, but they aren't my principle audience."

2) How can even good, religious activity slowly drive women into a state of weariness (why do church-going women need the Gospel message)?

"Women who go to church are inundated with the message of "do more, try harder," and although there are commands they should heed in the Bible, what they are to do is not the foremost message of the Bible. The foremost message of the Bible is what Jesus has already done for them. Unfortunately, many women have been taught (and we all by nature believe) that what we need are the three secret steps to happiness, so we listen carefully hoping to find the secret keys that will unlock a life of contented bliss. We know and acknowledge the gospel, but we think it's for unsaved folks and beginners. We think we've matured past it...and it's that deception that wears us out."

3) What is the good news for weary women?

"The good news for weary women is that Jesus, in His incarnation, sinless life, shameful death, bodily resurrection and ascension has done everything that needed to be done for his daughters, and that we can rest in this work He's done and serve our neighbor out of the love that has already been bestowed on us. The good news is that we can finally stop looking at ourselves, seeing if we measure up, and begin to look at Him, knowing that He measured up in our place."

So, I hope this post and these questions help to deepen your longing for the message of first importance - the glorious Gospel.  And, I hope you'll take advantage of this amazing resource, Good News for Weary Women, and find encouragement through Elyse's message.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Anniversary Week

10 Years!  This week, Meg and I celebrate 10 years of marriage.  Seems like only yesterday, the main application of any teaching I had was how this related to me finding a wife.  Now, I'm happily married (still!) and have been blessed with 4 children.  It's been a crazy 10 years with plenty of ups and downs, good times and bad, but it's been a blast.

Part of what makes the long term direction of marriage so difficult is due to selfishness.  So much of life turns on what we want as individuals.  God's graciously wired marriage to be such a thing that selfishness will be exposed rather quickly.  Want to veg in front of a TV for long hours?  You'll probably hear about it from your wife.  Want to burn every weekend doing what you alone want to do?  Gradually distance can be created in your relationship with your spouse.  Be on guard against selfishness -- it's actively working to undo what God's done.

After all, what most of us remember about our wedding days is being so confident that God is the one who's the great Matchmaker.  He's the one who's brought us to that spouse.  He's the one who worked this out.  And, because this is something God has done, we shouldn't work to separate it.  Yet, it can be so easy to do that.  It can be so easy to turn inward and do what I want at the expense of what God wants for me.

So, this week, I, for one, am praising God that He's continually working in me to help me die to myself.  And, one principle way He's working to do this is through marriage.  Meg is a divine tool from a loving God to shape me into His image.  It's because this is true that marriage is a good thing.  I'm blessed to continue riding these waves.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Recap - God's Salvation

My 8/17/14AM sermon, God's Salvation from Romans 9:6-13, is now online.  My aim was to wow everyone with God and His amazingly gracious saving acts towards those who don't deserve them.  We all need God's salvation, He acts to save and it's not based on our merit.  I'm hoping you had a great Lord's Day exalting Christ.  Have a great week.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend Recap - Religious Unbeliever

My 8/10/14AM sermon, Religious Unbeliever from Romans 9:1-5, is now online.  This sermon sought to explain how relating to God by faith in Christ is the greatest pursuit of your life, even over and above any religious privilege.  This is also the passage that many in Crestview will be studying as they review this sermon tonight in Small Groups (Romans 9:1-5 Talksheet).  I'm hoping this sermon not only helps promote faith in Jesus, who is God over all and blessed forever, but fires your heart of love for unbelievers.  Blessings.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Weekend Preview - Making Assumptions

I came across this cartoon that relates to the passage we will look at this coming Sunday:






















Making assumptions can be a dangerous thing.  This is certainly true for religious people.  Join us this Sunday as we continue to explore the book of Romans and see some assumptions people made that clouded reality.

And, while you're at it, maybe read this week's passage, Romans 9:1-5.