Sunday, July 05, 2015

Keeping His Commandments

My 7/5/15AM sermon, Keeping His Commandments from 1 John 2:3-6, is now online.  Whether it's thinking that our good deeds can get us heaven or thinking that if we obey God will love us more, we're in desperate need of what God thinks about obedience and a relationship with Him.  I tease out these things in this sermon and hope it proves helpful to you.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Submitting to God's Word and Your Relationship With God

An importantly relevant word from Tim Keller on 1 John 2:3-6, which we'll look at this coming Lord's day:

"Unless you see the Bible as God’s Word … That’s certainly how Jesus saw it. That’s certainly how John saw it. Unless you see the Bible as the place where you can find God’s will, you can’t actually have a personal relationship with God. “What do you mean?” you say. Well, let me put it to you this way.

"Plenty of people say, “I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I do! I believe in much of what the Bible says, but there are many things in the Bible you just can’t believe anymore. There are things in the Bible we just can’t follow anymore. We realize there are contradictions, and there are some things that are primitive. So I believe in most of the Bible and in the general principles of the Bible, and I believe in Jesus, and I have a personal relationship in Jesus, but I can’t believe everything in the Bible.”

"Now let me show you what you’ve just done. First of all, there is nothing between the two positions I’m about to outline. When you say, “Some things in the Bible are right and some things are wrong,” the only way you can say that is if you have faith at the moment you’re saying that in some other source of authority by which you can sift through the Bible. In other words, as soon as you say the Bible is only partially right and partially wrong, the only way you can say that is on the basis of faith in some authority which is completely and always right.

"You can’t doubt everything at once. You can only doubt something from a platform of faith in something else. Here’s what’s going on. If you say even one verse in the Bible is not true but the rest are, what you’re actually doing is you’re saying, “My discernment, my experience, my reason, my feelings are a more sure authority for deciding what God’s will is than the Bible.”

"So either (and there is nothing in between) … Even if you say there’s one verse that’s wrong, either your experience and your judgment can sit in evaluation of the Bible, or the Bible sits in evaluation of your judgment. Either your feelings are judged by the Bible, or the Bible is judged by your feelings.

"I’ll put it another way. Either your understanding is judged by the Bible, or the Bible is judged by your understanding. There’s nothing in the middle. Now I’m not going to try to prove which one is right to you right now, and you certainly have the right to believe your judgment is valid, more valid than the Bible. You know, be careful. In the 1890s, there were people who were saying these are things modern people can’t believe anymore in the Bible. They’re very different than in the 1990s. They’ll be very different than in the 2090s. I’m not going to try to prove which is right and which is wrong.

"Let me just show you the implications and ramifications of what you’ve just done. There is never a place now where you can see a standard that can cross your moral will. Do you know what’s happened to you? Now that you say, “This doesn’t seem right to me. Yes, the Bible says it’s wrong, but I can’t believe that. Yes, the Bible says this is wrong, but I can’t believe that.”

"In other words, if something doesn’t feel right to you and the Bible says it is right, or if something feels right and the Bible says it’s wrong, now there is no possibility of moral discipline. There is no possibility of a higher standard than your own feelings and your own experience and your own judgment. What that means is you can’t have a personal relationship with God. You’re treating God like a microphone now. If it feels right to you, that must be God’s will. How will you ever know a God who can say even though it feels right, it’s wrong? Because now what feels right is right.

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).  This particular citation is from a 1994 sermon entitled "The Freedom of Obedience"

Monday, June 29, 2015

An Advocate

My 6/28/15AM sermon, An Advocate from 1 John 2:1-2, is now online.  I can't think of better news in a day when sin doesn't seem to be that big of a deal and then people in the church think the world's sin is a bigger deal than their own than to point to our one and only Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, The Righteous.  I hope this sermon encourages you as you walk in this world.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekend Recap - Admitting Sin

My 6/21/15AM sermon, Careful Confession from 1 John 1:8-10, is now online.  This sermon is the third in our series on 1 John, teasing out some implications of what it means to be believers.  I hope it helps you have assurance in your relationship with God.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cappucino Hour

Here's a post I wrote that was featured on AVANT ministries blog:

Need a coffee break? I’m guessing that if you have a heartbeat, you can appreciate taking a break to stop and refresh. At the Avant Ministries headquarters in Kansas City, there’s a regular rhythm that speaks well beyond a simple break. This break, which I’ve dubbed “Cappuccino Hour,” involves many staff members from Avant and Crossworld (remember they share an office space) spilling out of their offices and down the stairs for a 10AM gathering. Think high quality coffee prepared by staff with a background serving in Italy coupled with the collaborative genius that happens when we come together around a common purpose. It doesn’t last an hour, but occurs at the top of the hour. This is what comes to mind as I’ve seen (and partaken) in “Cappuccino Hour.”
Cappuccino Hour is really what strategic partnership around God’s global work demands. Imagine the energy you’d experience if you could connect with a like-minded believer after serving in a country “closed” to the Gospel. You would not only need these kind of relationships, but you would also want them. As the Apostle John said, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).
The great moves of God come when we collaborate, rope people into a common purpose and foster fellowship worthy of the Gospel we herald.   Cappuccino is simply one way we can get at this destination.
Another practical benefit of Cappuccino Hour is that it is simply encouraging. Much of the work that Avant is involved in around the world takes place in contexts that are somewhat difficult. There are workers on the frontlines who believe that the Savior will have the reward of His suffering and is worthy of receiving worship from every tribe, tongue, language and nation. Sometimes this work is difficult and often it is slow. But, whenever I’ve shown up at Cappuccino Hour, tales of the Gospel flourishing from one end of the earth to the other are readily available. Encouragement abounds when staff members who have connections to our friends in distant lands are able to come together and tell tales of the Gospel’s prevailing.
Therefore, next time you take a sip of your coffee in the morning or even rest at the water cooler, would you be mindful of the fellowship you have with others in the Gospel? Would you find encouragement in the Gospel’s advance? And, would you give yourself to pray that our Savior’s great cause would prevail, for the glory of His name and the good of all people?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Reading Docket (Update)

You might remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about my Summer Reading Docket:

I've made some great progress on this:  For instance, I read...

Just Ride: A Practical Guide To Riding Your Bike by Grant Peterson
Just as I hoped, it provided some good, practical tips for riding.  

Side By Side: Walking With Others in Wisdom and Love by Ed Welch
About halfway done with this and reading this as a devotional each morning.  Soul penetrating with good questions towards application. 

The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny
I wish I could give a copy to EVERY PERSON involved in youth sports.  So good.  It's even affected how I support my kids in summer baseball.  

God Dwells Among Us by Greg Beale
Good, easy to read Biblical Theology.  There are some interesting ideas set forth here, but, when you consider these in light of the Biblical storyline, many resonate with truth.  

The Pastor and Counseling by Jeremy Pierre
Very practical help for allowing to Bible to be wielded in the lives of busy pastors.  

India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
It's 800 pages long, roughly, but getting a lot of practical information on the backstory of India.  

What Does The Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
This is a great, clear, relevant unpacking of the Biblical view of marriage as well as some of the pushback against that vision.  Many will be helped by this.  

Testimony of the Beloved Disciple by Richard Bauckham
Bauckham sees things differently that I do in many areas, but he is a great scholar on John and has given me some good things to think about.  

I'm also (continuing to) work my way through Andrew Fuller's sermons (I'm using the Logos edition)...

Tony Reinke's book Newton on the Christian Life emerged, spoke and conquered me.  What a book.  It's excellent.  I have some copies if you'd like to read this.  I'd be happy to give you one.  I agree with Ray Ortlund, Jr. who said that for some, this may be one of the most important books they ever read.  This is like sitting across for coffee with someone who's thought about a lot of life and application.  Newton speaks clear through Reinke's pen.  You'll love this, I promise.  

I still anticipate Don Whitney's Praying the Bible for the summer.

I grabbed Keller's book on Preaching and am working through it.  Vintage Keller.  

Also, I grabbed the NSBT on Trinity in John's Gospel.  That's going to be fun. 

I would reiterate, though, I am not allowing this reading to crowd out reading the Bible.  I'm spending a lot of time in 1 John these days.  So if you dig these recommendations, why not dig into 1 John with me this summer.  Just read a chapter each weekday and you'll be steeping long and with much fruit.  Tolle Lege!  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Some Videos from Sunday School

I was privileged to teach the Fundamentals of the Faith summer Sunday School class today and showed a couple of videos.  Here they are:

Jason DeRouchie (OT in 10 Minutes):

The Old Testament in Ten Minutes from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Andy Naselli (NT in 10 Minutes):

The New Testament in Ten Minutes from Desiring God on Vimeo.

John Piper (a video I call God Wrote a Book):

I also recommended the class take in Devin Brown's (10 Minute History of the English Bible):

I hope these are helpful in introducing you to the message and thrust of the Bible.

Walking In The Light

My 6/14/15 sermon, Walking in the Light from 1 John 1:5-7, is now online.  The sermon helped show what it means that God is Light and from there, pointed to how we respond, either with saying something more than is true or actually living accordingly.  I'm hoping it serves you well.  If you'd like Small Group Questions to go along with it, they are available too.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Meet Jesus

My 6/7/15AM Sermon, Meet Jesus from 1 John 1:1-4, is now online.  On top of serving as an introduction to the series as a whole, this sermon helped move us to know that we have eternal life by showing how the message about Jesus leads to fellowship and joy.  I hope you'll listen and I hope it's helpful.

Friday, June 05, 2015

New Sermon Series Begins This Sunday

This Sunday, Lord willing, I hope to start a week by week journey through John's Letters.

To help prepare for this, I've been taking time to steep in these letters for the past few months.  Here's a reading plan you might consider as we walk through this together:

Sunday - 1 John 1

Monday - 1 John 2

Tuesday - 1 John 3

Wednesday - 1 John 4

Thursday - 1 John 5

Friday - 2 John

Saturday - 3 John

Enjoy and I look forward to starting this on Sunday, 6/7/15.  

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

HomeWord Series in Complete

I just finished up, on Sunday mornings, a short series on God-centered marriage and family relationships.  I entitled this HomeWord.  As you can see in our graphic, the home's foundation is on God's Word and the overall trajectory is upward to glorify God.
This series, in particular, involved 4 sermons.  Most of them were unpacking some truth from Genesis 1-3.  The final sermon was from James 4:1-10.  Here's a link to the series and to each sermon:

I hope you enjoy these and they help equip you for your life ahead.  

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

In uno Jesu omnia - #JNXL

In Newton on the Christian Life, I came across this outstanding quote from Newton:

Dr. [Isaac] Watts' motto shall be mine, it is big enough for him, me, you and for thousands that approve it, In uno Jesu omnia [In Jesus alone is my everything].  In him I have an offering, an altar, a temple, a priest, a sun, a shield, a savior, a shepherd, a hiding place, a resting place, food, medicine, riches, honor, wisdom, righteousness, holiness, in short, everything.
In Jesus we find everything we need to sustain our confidence in him.

By the way, the best buy on this is at WTS Books now...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Marriage Sermons Online...

My sermons from 5/24/15 and 5/31/15 are now online:

God-Centered Marriage (Communication) - Genesis 1-3 was given on 5/24 and helped come up with a Biblical foundation for communication and, turning the corner, impart some measure of grace in how we can use our words for God's glory.

God-Centered Marriage (Conflict) - James 4:1-10 was given on 5/31 and helped show how conflict is rooted in our our selfish hearts.  Humility was encouraged as the God-given way to engage in conflict.

I hope these contributions help encourage positive actions in marriage.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Reading Docket Is Set...

I'm probably thinking a tad too ambitious, but this ought to keep me busy...

Here's some books I'm hoping to tackle this summer:

Just Ride: A Practical Guide To Riding Your Bike by Grant Peterson
Hoping to get a nugget or two of encouragement and practical help for my hobby.

Side By Side: Walking With Others in Wisdom and Love by Ed Welch
I've never been disappointed with a Welch book and I'm sure the practical wisdom will be helpful.

The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny
My favorite baseball team's manager wrote this and I haven't gotten to it yet.

God Dwells Among Us by Greg Beale
Beale has abbreviated some themes he's written on elsewhere in this book and it will be a good Biblical theology to dig in to.

The Pastor and Counseling by Jeremy Pierre
I always like to read practical books on helping me help people make progress in the "stuff" of life.

India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
Hoping to learn some history of a country I've grown to love.

What Does The Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
While much of our culture war isn't about the Bible at all, this is important for people who claim to be Christians to know.  Reading this by a typically clear writer to get more perspective.

Testimony of the Beloved Disciple by Richard Bauckham
My next series in 2016 will be on the Gospel of John so this will be good background reading.

I'm also working my way through Andrew Fuller's sermons (I'm using the Logos edition)...

And, Tony Reinke's book Newton on the Christian Life will emerge soon.

Also, I anticipate Don Whitney's Praying the Bible to be a great addition for the summer.

Having said all of this, though, I will not allow this reading to crowd out the regular, unhurried time in THE BOOK, so if you dig these recommendations, why not dig into 1 John with me this summer.  Just read a chapter each weekday and you'll be steeping long and with much fruit.  Tolle Lege!  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dreaming and my thoughts went here...

So, I was dreaming about our H2Go Team's vision, asking the Lord how He might lead us in global missions and this song was brought to my memory:

Lyrics from
1 How sweet and awesome is the place
with Christ within the doors,
while everlasting love displays
the choicest of her stores.
2 While all our hearts and all our songs
join to admire the feast,
each of us cries, with thankful tongue,
"Lord, why was I a guest?
3 "Why was I made to hear your voice,
and enter while there's room,
when thousands make a wretched choice,
and rather starve than come?"
4 'Twas the same love that spread the feast
that sweetly drew us in;
else we had still refused to taste,
and perished in our sin.
5 Pity the nations, O our God,
constrain the earth to come;
send your victorious Word abroad,
and bring the strangers home.
6 We long to see your churches full,
that all the chosen race
may, with one voice and heart and soul,
sing your redeeming grace.