Sunday, March 01, 2015

Weekend Recap - 3/1/15

My 3/1/15AM sermon, Introduction to the I Am's from John 20:30-31 is now online.  This sermon introduced a sermon series our church is pursuing through the Easter season on the 7 I Am's of Jesus in John's Gospel.  Here's a helpful chart overviewing where we're headed:
















My hope through this sermon was to help people connect to John's purpose: that we may see Christ and believing in Him, we may have life in His name.  Hope you have a great Sunday.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Review - Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones

The good Doctor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is maybe one of the greatest preachers in the 20th Century.  This collection of sermons was given at the church he served in London, Westminster Chapel, in 1951 with the recent memory of World War 2 fresh in his listeners minds and the raw reality of the Cold War beginning to sprout.  What follows in this book are 8 sermons from John 14:1-12.  

You can imagine the scene, much like today’s world.  It seems like our world is filled with so much uncertainty and doubt.  We don’t know what the right matters are to stand firm on (in some cases) and we wonder what to make of the future.  In comes Lloyd-Jones employing God’s Word as a surgeon for the soul.  Part 1, We Must Believe, gets at three chapters: Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, Believe in God, Believe Also In Me.  Part 2, The Soul and Its Future, includes In My Father’s House, I Go To Prepare a Place for You, and I Will Come Again, and Receive You.  In Part 3, No Other Way, he rounds out this series with I Am The Way, The Truth and The Life and Greater Works Than These Shall He Do.

Today, you may wonder what to do with your life.  What are the areas that are eternal?  And, in deeper ways, how does your heart find a place to live in light of all that’s happening in the world.  I would encourage you to grab this group of sermons to find the comforting words of Jesus used in ways that will sure encourage you.  I highly recommend this book.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review - Spurgeon's Sorrows by Zack Eswine

I had the opportunity to review Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Eswine recently.  I was excited about this for a few reasons.  On the one hand, I’ve benefitted from Eswine’s previous work(s).  Most notably, Sensing Jesus had a profound impact on me.  On the other hand, though, I’ve always been intrigued by Charles Spurgeon.  He was a young, restless, reformed pastor before it was cool.  There’re not too many works that connect Spurgeon, depression and the reader.  So, this volume proved to be an interesting pursuit.

I appreciated the breakdown and opening chapters to orient the reader to the idea of depression.  By the way, the work is laid out in 3 big parts: 1) Trying to Understand Depression, 2) Learning How to Help Those Who Suffer from Depression and 3) Learning Helps to Daily Cope with Depression.  It’s unfortunate to admit, but many in Christian circles don’t know where to begin or how to engage with someone who’s depressed.  We respond in ways like, “Who sinned, this person or their parents?”  And, this opening section unpacking how we understand depression is helpful to see where this comes through, all weaved through the preaching and experience of Spurgeon, a pastor in the 19th century.

The rest of the book is most practical: Learning How to Help Those Who Suffer from Depression (with Chapters entitled Diagnosis Doesn’t Cure, Language for our Sorrows, Helps That Harm and Jesus and Depression) as well as past three, Learning Helps to Daily Cope with Depression (and chapters on Promises and Prayers, Natural Helps, Suicide and Choosing Life and the Benefits of Sorrow).  My big sweeping summary of these final two sections continues on the momentum I built in the first one.  It’s much like this books helps all of us by helping us see that people suffer from depression, it’s not sin and here’s how you can be helped or come along those who need help.  


All in all, what I’d say about this book is that pastors must read it.  We, above all, need to be those who are characterized by grace.  Understanding some of the deep heart hurt of people in new ways would be the benefit of this book (with an eye on practical help).  Others (not pastors) would be helped as well in knowing and applying some help to those battling depression among us.  So many lessons would emerge her for the reader.  I would recommend Spurgeon’s Sorrows for your consideration for the good of others.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

CBC H2Go: The Lamb Takes Away Sin

I'm posting today over at our church's missions blog...


John 1:29 - "John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"  

God's wrath toward sinners is real.  We know that to be true because of what John said about Jesus here.  And, John didn't just say it.  He proclaimed it.  Look!  See!  Behold! Jesus takes away sin.  That's what the heart of God's compassion is about.  "People are under God's righteous wrath, so with a sense of urgency, we meet their spiritual and physical needs."  Because we believe that without Christ, sinners will meet a just punishment, we must go and make known the best of all news: Jesus takes away the sin of the world.  

I hope your heart is refreshed in this amazing news today.  Jesus takes away the sin of the world!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: Paul Tripp Greatest Hits, Now Available

"Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh,” so ends one of the most practical books in the Bible, Ecclesiastes.  And, it makes sense, doesn’t it?  Book lovers love all things books.  And, we’ll exhaust ourselves for the sake of a good book.  There are long books, short books, wish we had more books.  Have you ever read an author and thought, “I wish more people could connect with this author?”  That’s my experience with Paul Tripp.  Every single thing he writes is productive and helpful for me.  

His latest book, New Morning Mercies, is another book among many.  Tripp’s written devotional type books before.  He’s written the textbooks, the practical books, the pastoral books.  So, what is New Morning Mercies?  It’s a collection of writings from Tripp.  These are written up in short blips to read each day.  You might view this collection of writings as a Tripp Greatest Hits piece.  It’s really him at his finest: probing the heart with thought-provoking meditations so that we’ll be driven to our need of the good news found in Jesus.

So, if you find that you can’t quite navigate the preponderance of books, grab Paul Tripp’s greatest hits, New Morning Mercies, so that you might be engaged at the heart level and be left to go to your Savior.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Church in Romans

My 2/15/15AM sermon, Church in Romans, surveying the book of Romans on the subject of the church, is now online.  In it, there were so many goals I had.  I wanted to get after the American (human?) tendency to think individualistically over and against thinking collectively.  I wanted to connect the why of church life to the Gospel.  And, at the most basic (and deep) level, I wanted to magnify Jesus and the Gospel.  So, I thought this sermon helped connect those ideas to truths evident throughout Romans.  I see Romans as showing the glory of God in a united church on mission under grace.  This sermon came rather easy in light of that big sweeping goal.  I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love Is

Forrest Gump famously said, "I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is."  While we may have a good idea of what love is, I was helped just today, when someone drew my attention to this article on 23 Things That Love Is by Paul Tripp (and the one forwarding it to me reminded me to be reminded of this while I'm shopping for card, flowers or candy for my valentine):


  1. LOVE IS... being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
  2. LOVE IS... actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
  3. LOVE IS... making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
  4. LOVE IS... being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
  5. LOVE IS... being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
  6. LOVE IS... a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
  7. LOVE IS... being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
  8. LOVE IS... making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
  9. LOVE IS... being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
  10. LOVE IS... being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
  11. LOVE IS... being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
  12. LOVE IS... being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
  13. LOVE IS... recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
  14. LOVE IS... speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
  15. LOVE IS... being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
  16. LOVE IS... being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
  17. LOVE IS... the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
  18. LOVE IS... a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
  19. LOVE IS... staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
  20. LOVE IS... the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
  21. LOVE IS... being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
  22. LOVE IS... refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
  23. LOVE IS... daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Weekend Recap - 2/8/15

My 2/8/15AM sermon, Scripture in Romans, is now online (Small Group Questions here).  In this sermon, I seek to unpack how we are led to understand the Bible fitting together as Romans handles all kinds of OT references and quotes.  Typically, at the start of the year, we begin with a sermon related to prayer and then a sermon related to the importance of God's Word (our Elders feel these are important rhythms for us).  So, this sermon is there to help us draw near to God through His Word, encouraging a love for the Scriptures.  Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Weekend Recap - 2/1/15

Just realized I never posted a recap from my Sunday's sermon...been a busy week in church life.  We kicked off our Week of Prayer on Sunday and my sermon was a conglomeration of texts from Romans related to prayer.  I entitled the sermon Prayer In Romans.  We've also produced some resources related to our Week of Prayer.  One is simply a prayer devotional that people have been using each day to fire their hearts for prayer, based on Juan Sanchez' recent article the Priority of Prayer (in Credo Magazine's How Then Shall We Pray?).  We've also launched a Passport to Prayer, a way for people to connect to us throughout the year in prayer.  It features 10 different prayer stations and different requests related to church life.  I've heard great things about this so far.  It's still not to late to join our Week of Prayer.  Join us!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekend Recap - 1/25/15

My 1/25/15AM sermon, Benediction from Romans 16:25-27, is now online (Small Group Questions are available too).  This sermon brought to an end my year long preaching through the book of Romans.  It was certainly a joy to do this.  This sermon, in particular, helped show how the aim of everything God's done through the Gospel is for His glory.  I hope it encourages you in your life.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekend Recap - Retreats...

I'm coming off a super busy weekend...

On Thursday and Friday, I was in Hesston, KS with Leadership Reno County kicking off the 2015 class with a retreat.  I love playing a small part in the leadership development of our community.  Many of the things our community continues to work on are big, hairy, adaptive problems.  I think LRC helps equip people, regardless of their background, to make progress in these areas.

As soon as I returned from this, our Elders got away for a Bible Intensive Retreat with Jim Elliff and Kole Farney.  In church work, especially among church leadership, we can spend so much time doing important, even necessary things, that we can neglect the more vital things.  I've noticed over the past few years that studying the Bible together would be a great thing.  Jim's preferred method for reading the Bible is really where we spent much of our time, working through John 1 together.  By the way, Jim did preach for me (and Kole shared his testimony).  'Twas a great sermon on what it means to be a True Disciple.

Today, this busy weekend ended by being able to participate in the Reno County Youth Leadership Summit.  I was able to speak on how leadership starts with you and must engage others.

So, I'm pretty beat, but it's a good tired and I'm grateful to get to serve both our community, local church leadership and the church at large.  Have a great week.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekend Recap - Gospel Watchfulness

My 1/11/15AM sermon, Gospel Watchfulness from Romans 16:17-20 (including Small Group Questions) is now online.   The sermon sought to unpack the call to look out and avoid those who cause divisions by abandoning the Gospel.  This should be done with wisdom and in light of the sure victory that will be ours through Jesus.  I hope it encourages you as you seek to live a life centered on the Gospel (or if you need more information on what makes the Gospel so amazing).

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Weekend Recap - Gospel Greetings

My 1/4/15AM sermon, Gospel Greetings from Romans 16:1-16, 21-23 is now online.  This sermon engaged the long list of greetings at the end of Romans to press toward encouragements in church life, service and fellowship.  I hope you find it helpful as you see to engage in eternal work this coming year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Weekend Recap - Gospel Partnership

My 12/28/14AM sermon, Gospel Partnership from Romans 15:25-33, is now online.  In this sermon, I sought to unpack what Paul was saying when he showed how Gospel motives inform meeting social needs and engaging in prayer.  There are ways Christians resist both of these, so I tried to engage those (unspoken) thoughts as well.  I hope it's helpful for you living out what you believe.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend Recap - Christmas Defined

My 12/21/14AM sermon was titled Christmas Defined from John 3:16.  This sermon is now online.  The definition we were driven to was: Christmas is God's love coming to us through His Son calling us away from ourselves to real life.  I hope it blesses you this holiday week.