Monday, December 24, 2007

Blogging Break (of sorts)...

With the busyness of this holiday season coupled with my fervent attempt to get lots of work done with the day of Celebration tomorrow, wedding this weekend, and traveling Sunday for holiday at my Mom's, I am going to take an official break from blogging. While I'm out, I may tweak design and some things like that, and hope to return after the first of the year with official, regular posts. You might keep an eye on the church website for upcoming sermons. Have a great New Year as well!

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday morning was a great time in God's Word. To think that "God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons" is a staggering thought.

I hope you can celebrate the joy of God's Son, the Savior, being sent for you. Have a blessed holiday and a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In Awe of Jesus.

I am thoroughly enjoying prepping for this Sunday's sermon, which will come from Galatians 4:4-5. The commentary that I most enjoy is the NAC volume by Timothy George. Commenting on the eternal nature of Christ he says, "Christ did not begin to be the Son of God at Bethlehem, or the Jordan River, or at his resurrection or ascension. He is the 'only-begotten God' resident in the 'bosom of the Father' from all eternity (John 1:18; 17:1-10)... God sent his Son not just from Galilee to Jerusalem, nor just from the manger to the cross, but all the way from heaven to earth...In sending Jesus, God did not send a substitute or a surrogate. He came himself." These are just very high and lofty thoughts to be enjoyed during this holiday season.

An Andrew Peterson song begins, "Gather round ye children, come, listen to an old, old story: of the power of death undone by an infant of glory -- Son of God, Son of Man. So sing out with joy for the brave little boy who was God but made Himself nothing. Well, He gave up His pride and He came here to die like a man."

I hope you can stand in awe of the incarnation. The eternal God himself sent His Son, fully God, fully man and fully able to save us to the uttermost.

Praise Christ this Christmas.

Pete Rose?

My Mom's favorite baseball player, Pete Rose, (said with great sarcasm) says steroid users are damaging the game of baseball. Like Tim Ellsworth said, (HT to him by the way), "Good grief." How did the ol' phrase go? Something about a pot calling the kettle black???

Audio - Advent Poems by Piper

For the free audio emphasis of the week, I would recommend listening to this year's advent poems by John Piper. As the website suggests, "Beginning in 1982, as a gift to Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper has written poems for each of the four Sundays of Advent. They are mostly stories from the lives of biblical characters who find their lives intertwined with significant events in redemptive history. Also included here are poems that Piper has written for other occasions." They are entertaining and well worth a listen. And, running about 7 minutes each, are easily grabbed quickly.

Thanks again to Desiring God for making Piper's resources free and available to all. This year's poems focus on Nicodemus (coinciding with Piper's series on the new birth.

Nicodemus, Part 1
Nicodemus, Part 2
Nicodemus, Part 3

Monday, December 17, 2007

MM - Family Driven Thoughts...

Yesterday in my morning message, I quoted Voddie Baucham on the need to encourage discipleship in our children. For today's Marriage Monday segment, I want to give you the quotes I mentioned and simply ask, "Parents, are you equipping your children to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus? Or are you equipping them to a selfish lifestyle with little sacrifice following whatever their little hearts desire?" We have been given an awesome responsibility from God to shepherd the hearts of our children.

Here are the quotes I used...
“Ask parents what they want most for their children, and you will likely get the same answer whether they are Christians or garden-variety unbelievers. They will likely say, ‘I want my children to get a good education.’ In fact, that’s exactly what George Barna found when he interviewed Christian and non-Christian parents. The number one goal that they had for their children was that they would get a good education.

“I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with emphasizing education for our children. However, our children’s education is not our primary goal. Our primary goal for our children is that they walk with the Lord.

From Family-Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham


For further instruction, you might consider checking out J.C. Ryle's excellent piece entitled "The Duties of Parents"Parent by grace in a way that draws out the heart of your children and prepares them for the good news of the Gospel.

Santa Thoughts..

Thabiti has some great thoughts on questions people have asked him about "children 'celebrating' Santa Claus during the Christmas season." My favorite line was the last one answering whether or not including Santa is 'worth' it: "Personally, I doubt Santa Claus is worth it, and pointing our kids away from Jesus at Christmas may be the worst form of child neglect I can imagine." Check it out for yourself!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Aftermath...

Yes, the Winter Storm filled with ice hit us. We got around 1 inch of ice. Rainfall totals from start to finish were over 3 inches. So, we are digging out of what amounts to a disaster area today. Every school here was cancelled today and many are already cancelling tomorrow. While the roads and parking lots are passable, many remain without power. We cancelled our Wed evening activities tonight due, in large part, to the many people who serve being without power.

Here are some weather stories from the local news:

More Than 130,000 Kansans Still Without Power
Reno County (Where I Live) Hardest Hit By Storm
Reno County Ice Storm Damage
Hutchinson Hit Hard By Ice
Ice Storm - Photo Gallery

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice Storm...

Here is the headline from the local news at 12:20PM today...

MAJOR ICE STORM ON THE WAY

As a result of this, I may be at home iced in tomorrow. I am furiously trying to finish some of the major details of sermon work in which I need books in my office. But plan to take labtop, books and sermon prep material home to work out of there.

SOW - C.J. On Adoption...

You may or may not know that my FAVORITE preacher is C.J. Mahaney. I love the way C.J. brings every message back to the cross and is so humble and transparent in his communication. His pointed application always is used by God in my life. I really want to feel the text like he does. I was excited, then, when last week, on the Covenant Life podcast, I got a sermon from him on Adoption. The sermon was titled, "God as Father: Understanding the Doctrine of Adoption" from Galatians 4:1-7. Check it out. It is my free audio recommendation of the week.

More Bible Intake Boosting...

Last Monday, I posted Mark Altrogge's tips for more meaningful Bible intake. Over at the Blazing Center, Mark's son, Stephen, gives the following tips to encourage Bible intake:
1. Pray as you're reading
2. Apply one bit of truth
3. Read your Bible in the morning
4. Write while you're reading

MM - Building God-Esteem

After yesterday's sermon on denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus, I was thinking about how this concept related to my marriage/family life. As a father and husband, I need to be seeking to encourage radical Christ following in the lives of my wife and child. John Piper calls this building God-esteem not self-esteem into them. In Paul Tripp's latest book, A Quest For More, he gets to the issue of kingdom allegiance. He summarizes the call of denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus as a simple call: YOU MUST DIE.

Deny Yourself: death to the priority of self
Take Up Your Cross: death to my pursuit of my life
Follow Me: death to my pursuit of my plan

Tripp goes on to ask these questions...
Are you living as his disciple in this way? Are you following his example? Only as we die to the glory of our claim on our own lives will we begin to experience the transcendent glories of living for the Lord. Only when we are willing to the do the unthinkable (preside over our own deaths) does the wonderful (the transcendence for which we were created) become our possession.


Later on in this Tripp says, "To jealously hold on to my dream of what I want to accomplish, experience and enjoy is to guarantee that I will never ever experience true life." We want that life that is found only in God.

Therefore, as leaders in our homes (or as wives or children seeking to follow Christ), let's get ride of the selfish things that surround us and inspire God esteem in our own hearts and in the hearts of those we love.

Read Through the Bible (in January)...

I found a post over at the Said At Southern Blog very interesting. If you don't know, usually the month of January is a break from seminary classes and time for what they call Winterm (or some sort of clever designation). Tony Kummer suggests using this time to read through the entire Bible. That's right, he demonstrates how one could read through the Bible in January. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

SOW - C.J. Q & A on Manhood

Last week's sermon of the week featured the Pursuit, a conference in conjunction with Sovereign Grace Ministries on Manhood. I want to draw attention to a specific session with C.J. Mahaney in which he fielded questions related to the topic of manhood, including how he leads his son, wife and family, how he maintains accountability with other men and other practical matters. This is a must download. There is also a PDF available which transcripts the time.

Giving Good, Godly Criticism

Over at the 9 Marks blog, Church Matters, Mark Dever gives the following 5 tips for giving good criticism:
1. Directly, not indirectly.
2. Seriously, not humorously.
3. As if it's important, not casually.
4. Privately, not publicly.
5. Out of love for them, not to express your feeling or frustration.

Monday, December 03, 2007

MM - Study Your Spouse and Children

For today's Marriage Monday column, I thought I would give a word of encouragement that I heard in audio (again) from C.J. Mahaney. He also writes about this practice in Sex, Romance and the Glory of God. He writes:
What we love, we want to learn about. And what we love to study, we come to love even more. That's just the way God has wired us. I love the Terps and the Skins; so learning about them and growing in my zeal for them was a totally natural process.

I still enjoy following these teams, but my strongest passions now lie elsewhere.

My highest and greatest love will always be reserved for God, for when I was his enemy and worthy of his righteous wrath, in his great mercy he sent his only Son to live a perfect life and die a perfect death in my place. But after my love for God, nothing compares to the passion I hold for Carolyn, my wife.

Because I have this passion for her, I have studied her. I've noticed and noted the details about her. All kinds of details. Everything from the kinds of snacks she likes, to what certain facial expressions reveal, to this one particular freckle pattern that only I see.

It has been my privilege to be a student of Carolyn since before our engagement. As I have studied her--seeking to learn what pleases, excites, honors, encourages, refreshes, and helps her--my love for her has only increased.
We need to heed C.J.'s good words here and never fail to increase in wisdom and knowledge as it pertains to those we love dearest. This will often happen, as C.J. later admits, in asking questions to draw them out. But pursue it. Study your family to know how you can best serve them. This will help your love and exercising of your role to be done in a way that honors God Himself.

IE7 & The ESV

You can now add the ESV to your list of search providers in Internet Explorer 7. This is one of my most valuable tools on my computer. Since I now preach from the ESV, this move has made importing texts into my manusript very easy. You simply can change searching from LiveSearch or Google to ESV and then add a reference and that is pulled up in seconds. It is quicker than a well-trained 4th grader doing the Bible drill. So utilize it.

Consistent and Meaningful Bible Intake

Over at the Blazing Center, Mark Altrogge writes on 8 ways to get more out of our Bibles:

1. Prepare the night before
2. Pray
3. Same time, same place every day.
4. Keep track of what you read
5. Write in your Bible
6. Read consecutively
7. Use a journal
8. Respond to what you’ve read

These are some great practical helps you simply must check out.

Be A Man...

Ray Van Neste offers some tips on what it means to be a man to some college students.

(HT: JT & Tim Ellsworth)