Monday, October 05, 2015

Weekend Recap - 10/4/15

My 10/4/15AM sermon, New Relationship from 1 John 3:1-3, is now online.  The idea in the sermon is that having a relationship with God changes things.  In fact, you could say your past, present and future are affected because you know Him.  I hope you'll listen to this sermon and find help in it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekend Recap - 9/27/15

My 9/27/15AM sermon, United to Christ from 1 John 2:28-29, is now online (this was also discussed with Small Groups).  The sermon was kind of a final engagement of our hearts before chapter 3 to make sure we're abiding.  Specifically, abiding in the Gospel, or in Jesus Himself, is THE way we prepare for the end of this life.  I also sought to marvel at how Jesus Christ is righteous and make some connections for how that relates to the way we live.  I hope this sermon helps you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Weekend Recap - Deception

My 9/20/15AM sermon, Deception from 1 John 2:26-27, is now online.  The sermon encircled that ongoing theme in 1 John of abiding.  You might think that the best defense about deception would be a good offense.  But, in 1 John, the answer is abiding, not just abiding in the message, but abiding in Jesus, who is the message.  I think if you listen to this sermon you, too, may be helped to fend off deceptions that come your way.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Abiding In Our Confession

My 9/13/15AM sermon, Abiding in Our Confession, from 1 John 2:22-25, is now online.  The sermon is our there for your benefit, but I think this sermon affected me by pointing me to how confessing Christ as my Savior and Lord is manifested in abiding in Him for eternity.  I push back against this at times seeking to carve out some other rogue identity.  But only an identity in Him -- highlighting who He is and what He's done -- will last forever.  I hope this sermon helps you, too.

Monday, September 07, 2015

SS Recap - God's Will and Direction in Our Lives

Was privileged to teach adult Sunday School at Crestview yesterday and wrap up our summer series on the Fundamentals.  We ended thinking of God's Will and Guidance, so I took time to lead people through a Bible Intensive time of Psalm 16.  And, we ended with this particular Ask Pastor John episode on How Is God Directing My Life.  This is an excerpt from a sermon entitled, the Path To Full and Lasting Pleasure.  Here's the video... (the excerpt I showed begins at the 27:28 mark).  If you missed Sunday School and would like a Psalm 16 to mark up, stop by my office.  I have some extra copies.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Identity - Relationship of Knowing...

My 9/6/15AM sermon, You Know It from 1 John 2:18-21, is now online.  In this sermon, I unpacked John's heart for the believer's identity, a relationship with God through Jesus manifested in community and relevant for the here and now.  I hope you find this helpful.

Monday, August 31, 2015

For the Church Conference

I'm excited to be able to participate in the For the Church Conference August 31-September 1 at my alma mater, MBTS, in Kansas City.  Here's the lineup:
The theme of the 2015 conference will be “For the Church & Truth”, based on 1 Timothy 3:15; “if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” Plenary sessions will be oriented around the role of truth in these five areas:
  • Truth and the Church
  • Truth and Shepherding
  • Truth and Leadership
  • Truth and Preaching
  • Truth and Culture
  • Truth and Missions
This two day conference on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is open to the general public and will feature free books, live worship, and course credit for Midwestern Seminary students.

If you're able, why not say a quick part for people participating in this event. We want God to be glorified through it.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekend Recap - Loving the World and the Believer's Identity

My 8/30/15AM sermon, Loving the World from 1 John 2:15-17 is now online.  This sermon was a difficult one for me to prepare for.  Part of the reason has to do with how much sloppy application is thrown around using this passage as the springboard.  I wanted to make sure I understood exactly what John was saying and then proceed accordingly.  The gist?  Our identity can't be wrapped in the world, after all the world is fading away with all that offers.  It's doing the will of God and abiding in the Father's love that is the "forever" stuff.  If our identity is there, loving the world won't be an issue.  Hope you're helped by this one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

God Made All of Me

Was privileged to get an early release copy and opportunity to review God Made All of Me: A Book To Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb.

Here's how the publisher described this important book: 
God Made All of Me is the first children’s book by Rid of My Disgrace authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, and its goal is to equip parents to help kids protect their own bodies. It’s a beautifully-illustrated little book with a clear message: your body is designed by God and every part of it is good. It helps parents give their kids language and expectations for appropriate and inappropriate touch and set clear boundaries for how others should treat them. When you read the book yourself, I think you will feel more confident in guiding your kids; when you read it with your kids, you will have already started the important conversation that every family needs to have.

Unfortunately, in the day and age we live in, child abuse is far too common.  At times, I think, people with children almost feel paralyzed in addressing this issue with their kids and we certainly don't like to discuss it with others.  But, this children's book is help to not only model some language for these kinds of courageous conversations but give instruction to your children in this matter.  Please consider the importance of this book.  You can see why this book is important.  

On top of the importance and subject matter found in this book, it comes loaded with incentives when you pre-order: over $100 worth of free, related resources. These include the eBook for Rid of My Disgrace, a Journal of Biblical Counseling article, some catechism albums, and a whole lot more!  It would definitely be in your interest to pre-order if you feel drawn to utilize this book.

Recommend this book.  Share this post.  Point people to the book's site.  Let's be about the common good of our children by equipping them in this way.   


Monday, August 17, 2015

Gleanings from Long Term Ministry

My good friend, Brad, pastor at Old Powhatan Baptist, recently wrapped up his 8th year at one church.  Here's his reflections, which I would echo as I just wrapped 15 at Crestview.

1) Prayer is the heartbeat of ministry.
2) Strategy starts and ends with submission. (1 & 2 unpacked in part 1)
3) Family is essential for ministry.
4) My adequacy for the task and calling as pastor comes from Jesus. (3 & 4 unpacked in part 2)
5) The Holy Spirit changes people, not programs.  And, Holy Spirit changed people change programs.
6) Preferences are not the Gospel. (5 & 6 unpacked in part 3)
7) It is not enough to hold to the infallibility and inerrancy of God's Word.
8) We are not meant for trench warfare, but for the victorious advance of the Gospel. (7 & 8 unpacked in part 4)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

How Do You Know?

A big question that many of us grapple with has to do with assurance, or knowing that we have a relationship with Christ.  Here's how Andrew Fuller gave counsel to his daughter in a letter:

If, you dear, you do really enjoy the presence of God, and so see the greatness of your sin as to abhor it and yourself on account of it, that is certainly an evidence that God has chosen you out of the world.  If there be any doubt in the matter, it is whether those feelings which you enjoy be excited by the Lord's presence, and whether the sense you have of the greatness of your sin does lead you to bewail and hate it.  I do not mean to discourage you, or to suggest as if I thought otherwise; but it may be well for you to suspect your own heart, which is deceitful.  I may add, that if you think you "see yourself a great sinner," it may in part be because you at present know but little of yourself.  You are a much greater sinner, my dear, than you are aware of; and an interest in the dying love of Christ is of far greater importance that you have ever yet conceived.  But let not this discourage you.  Though your sins be as scarlet, yet the blood of Christ is sufficient to make you pure as snow.  The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.  Believe his gospel, commit your soul to him as a perishing sinner, and you will be everlastingly saved.  See Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:7; 2 Timothy 1:12.  Follow on to know the Lord, and you shall know him.  Call upon him in the name of Christ, that is, pray him to pardon and accept of you, and grant all your petitions, not for your worthiness' sake, for you are utterly unworthy; but for the worthiness' sake of his dear Son, who died for sinners. [1]

There is so much godly counsel and wisdom in these words.  Notice that Fuller isn't to give even his own daughter assurance apart from Christ.  It's there, and only there, that our confidence and worthiness is found.  So, how do you know?  Do you know Christ and His sacrifice for sinners?

[1] Andrew Fuller, "Letter 13: To Mary Fuller," in The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller, ed. Michael Haykin. (Dundas, Ontario: Joshua Press, 2001), 135-136.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekend Recap - 8/9/15

Blessed by a great Sunday...  I was able to celebrate 15 years at one church and was very encouraged by all that people shared by way of encouragement.  My sermon continued a short 2 part series on the Church from Ephesians 4:1-16.  This week's sermon was entitled The Church's Work and helped show that all that we're called to do is easily enabled in the Gospel.  I hope it encourages you.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

You're Free From This World

Privileged to listen to this sermon from Ray Ortlund, Jr on Revelation 7:9-10 entitled You Can Touch The World.   The coming reality believers will know and experience in glory should matter today in the here and now.  Here's a sample from this sermon:

"...Our future changes our present.  We can get up by faith today and walk out of the mental prison of fearful self-concern.  You can be free from the grim and lonely fight for survival, because if you love Jesus, your future is as big as heaven.  And until you're there, God's purpose for you now is as big as the world.  In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

" there's nothing small and inconsequential in Jesus, not even you.  If you feel broken, and disqualified, and excluded--actually it's better that way--we don't need, boy, we do not need, more victorious Christians scolding defeated sinners.  We need broken Christians in constant repentance confessing their sins and telling others where they can take their sins: to Jesus the Savior of the world, because He can take it.  He can take it all.

" whoever you are, you can touch the world.  And you don't need this church to tell you how.  You have the command of Jesus to disciple the nations.  You have the power of the Holy Spirit.  You have the wisdom of God in the Bible.  You have God's great plan with His purpose supporting you, His smile approving of you, His throne of grace available to you through prayer.  You can touch the world.

(Starting at the 20:09 mark and ending on the 22:09 mark)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Weekend Recap - 8/2/15

My 8/2/15AM sermon, The Church's Vision from Ephesians 4:1-16, is now online.  With a natural break in my 1 John series and mission reports and guest speakers on the horizon, I thought it would be wise to address some church life issues in a short 2 week series.  This sermon, helped refocus us on the church's vision from God's perspective: that we be one body with leaders developing ministry action for the body's maturity.  I hope it proves helpful to you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reading Your Own Heart (as a pastor)

I've been blogging through a sermon by Andrew Fuller entitled "Spiritual Knowledge and Love Necessary for the Ministry" from John 5:35 (Post 1, Post 2), and I'll wrap up my thoughts with this post.  I've highlighted in previous posts how much I appreciate this sermon, but there is one part that stuck out to me in the end of this sermon.  In applying what this looks like for his listeners, he encourages them to read the lives of good men, to study and pray over the Word, to life the life of a Christian, and commune with God in private.  These are all excellent counsel, but it was this word that especially penetrating:

Read men, as well as books, and your own heart, in order that you may read others.  Copyists, you know, are generally bunglers.  There is nothing that equals what is immediately from the life.  We need always be making our observations, wherever we are, or wherever we go.  If we get a system of human nature, or experience, or any thing else, from books rather than from our own knowledge, it will be liable to two disadvantages.  First, it is not likely to be so near the truth; for systems which go through several hands are like successive copies of a painting, every copy of the preceding one is more unlike the original--or like the telling of a tale, the circumstances of which you do not know of your own personal knowledge: every time it is repeated there is some variation, and thus it becomes further removed from the truth.  Thus Agrippa showed his wisdom, when, instead of depending on the testimony of others, he determined to hear Paul himself.  Secondly, if it be correct, still it will not be so serviceable to you as if it were a system of your own working.  Saul's armor might be better than David's sling; but not to him, seeing he had not proved it.  

What's Fuller getting at in this quote?  As helpful as books may be, if we spend too much time in them, it might begin to distort reality.  We must live life, attend to our own hearts and work at the application of truth ourselves.  There are so many applications here from not preaching someone else's sermons or relying too heavily on commentaries to failing to apply and have a tender heart.  It's often been my experience that those pastors who lay the heavy load on people aren't too great at applying things in their own heart.  Those sermons with the ripest application for my hearers tend to be when I have worked hard to apply this to my own heart first.

I commend this sermon to you for reading again.  I have a PDF I'd be happy to email you if you click on the link at the top right of my blog.  Thanks.