Sunday, April 26, 2015

India Report is Live

My 4/26/15AM talk, the Illuminate India Report, with Cameron Wood is now online (Audio / Video).    We appreciate the great support and feedback we were able to receive from so many in the congregation.  It was a great time to come together and reflect on what God allowed us to see and do. I know there's much more we could have communicated, but we wanted you to see how this trip tied to the Great Commission and what some short term connections might be.  We look forward to connecting in deeper ways through the coming days and months, especially this coming Sunday and Luke and Julie report to us.  I hope you had a blessed Lord's Day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Church, The Future Generations and Revival

Here's an important question answered from Ray Ortlund's When God Comes to Church:

"Do we want to guarantee that our children will run in the opposite direction of our most cherished biblical convictions?  All we have to do is sterilize our churches.  Make them rigid, unresponsive, grim.  Require of our ministers that they play the role of scolding, scowling Reverend Eat-Your-Peas. Treat the gospel as a theological system only, rather than also as a personal remedy.  Use the Bible as ammunition for "culture wars" rather than as food for life.  Withdraw from the historical situation in which God has placed us.  Build up the walls, reinforce the barriers and make certain that no experience gets in here.  Ignore the fact that "doctrine only" is not itself a biblical doctrine.

"But do we want our children to embrace our biblical convictions with joy?  Let our churches become environments fertile with revival potentialities.  Let's shape our churches with deliberate intention that their content and tone may encourage our children, and all others, in true experience of God.  Let our convictions open up to their eyes a glorious vision of God and to their hearts the succulent pleasures of God.  We cannot trigger a divine visitation on our churches, but it is our responsibility prayerfully to offer our Lord a church steeped in the gospel and tenderly responsive to his presence.  His Spirit's blessing should not have to work against the logic and ethos we create.

(pp. 16-17)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Recap - 4/19/15 - Abide

My 4/19/15AM sermon, The True Vine from John 15:1-11, is now online.  There were so many things to say about this powerful word from Jesus on being the True Vine and without Him we can do nothing.  My heart was rocked to the core by Him and I tried to help our people see these things.  My outline got at connections between us and the True Vine and how we live in the here and now.  I hope you find encouragement in it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Recap - 4/12/15

My 4/12/15AM sermon, The Way, The Truth and The Life from John 14:1-7 is now online.  This sermon was me unpacking what Jesus meant when He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me."  There is a bit of a context and Jesus' words give good comfort to all kinds of troubled hearts.  I hope you find it encouraging today.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Weekend Recap - Easter 2015

My 4/5/15AM sermon, The Resurrection and the Life from John 11:17-27, is now online.  This sermon was my Easter 2015 message and part of our ongoing series on who Jesus and what He did.  We are surveying the 7 I Ams of Jesus and this week landed on resurrection truth.  I hope you find it encouraging.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekend Recap - 3/29/15

My 3/29/15AM sermon, The Good Shepherd from John 10:11-18, is now online.  This sermon proved to be a great text for Palm Sunday as seeing that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep is such a profound truth in the section of Scripture.  Holy Week builds to Jesus' death and resurrection and these themes easily emerged from Jesus' own description of what He came to do.  I hope this sermon encourages you, as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Carson on how Good Friday relates to Easter

In the Pillar NT Commentary on John, here's a great connection Don Carson makes (commenting on John 10:17):

Jesus lays down his life in order to take it up again. Jesus’ sacrificial death was not an end in itself, and his resurrection an afterthought. His death was with the resurrection in view. He died in order to rise, and by his rising to proceed toward his ultimate glorification (12:23; 17:5) and the pouring out of the Spirit (7:37–39) so that others, too, might live.

Monday, March 23, 2015

CBC H2Go - Christ: The Joy of Missions

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

Habbakuk 3:17-19 "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."

Strategic Recklessness is really about JOY.  "We forsake our security and comforts in this life to fulfill the Great Commission and to seek our everlasting joy in Christ."  Christ does give us a superior joy.  Somehow the prophet knew this reality to be true.  Even though everything seemed to be taken away, He still had God and that was the place of joy.  Missions might mean you are inconvenienced, persecuted or even put to death, but having that everlasting joy in Christ means that it will never end.  It's yours today in Him.  Christ is the joy of missions.  Let Him inspire you to give up all for sake of His cause.

Weekend Recap - 3/22/15

My 3/22/15AM sermon, Jesus Is The Door from John 10:7-10 is now online (Small Group Questions here).  I had been out of the pulpit a couple of weeks with my India trip, so it was good to return to this series that our church is doing through this Easter season.

This particular sermon highlighted how Jesus is exclusive from other religious leaders, how He's the Savior and how He gives abundant life.  So, I'm hoping this sermon was helpful and engaging and promoting a deeper reliance on Him.

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.