Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update...

I guess some of you see that there has been a break in the blogging for me. We left Christmas Day and drove through the historic midwestern snow storm last week. Pretty uneventful trip and ended up here at my Mom's safely. I've had pretty relaxing days all in all. We went to her church on Sunday and have been shopping for some post Christmas bargains. Yesterday, worked on my Mom's clothes dryer for a bit. Today, helping her take down Christmas decor. Oh, we also finished a 1000 piece puzzle. Watched some movies as well. That's about it. I anticipate the week gaining speed as we return home later this week and get back in the swing of things here soon.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

May your day be filled with praise to Jesus for His coming and taking on human flesh so that we might be redeemed far as the curse is found. Let's praise God today for the Gospel! Here's a link to listen to or download Advent Songs by Sojourn Music:


The song "Glory Be" is my favorite.
At the height of the song, we hear:

Hallelujah, the Lord of life has come
To reconcile the nations to their God
Hallelujah, he’s coming back again
To finish what began in Bethlehem.


This is what we celebrate today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Adopted as a Son...

Holiday break is fast approaching and as we think about Jesus coming to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), I am going to take Justin Buzzard's challenge. He recommends we work through this chart this holiday to remind ourselves of the truth that in Christ, we are sons and daughters of God:

He links to a longer version of this chart and while you're on that page, download Gospel Encouragement to Cheer Up (2nd from the top). (We will be using World Harvest Misson's Gospel Centered Life curriculum in small groups this Winter.)

I'll close with an amazing quote from the Gospel Encouragement to Cheer Up article and see if your heart isn't better stirred to praise Jesus:
The gospel is the best news we could ever hear. The gospel is about Jesus Christ and his power to transform our lives and relationships, communities, and ultimately, the nations. Through this gospel, we are freely given a new identity—an identity not based on race, social class, gender, a theological system, or a system of rules and regulations. Rather it is a new and perfect identity based solely on faith in Christ, an identity that defines every aspect of our lives. We are now forgiven, righteous, adopted, accepted, free, and heirs to everything that belongs to Christ. So even our sin, weakness, and failures do not define who we are. Because of this good news, we no longer have to hide from our sin and imagine that we have it all together, for God knows and loves us as we are, not as we pretend to be.
May you spend this Christmas season honoring the Savior who accomplished these very things for you in His life, death and resurrection.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How Well Are You Using Your Time (Really!)...

As the year winds down here, I have been thinking about how busy I've been in a recent season and considering what adjustments need to be made and where and I came across a helpful tool that I used in years previous to think about this. Check out this Pastor's Accountability Form from Desiring God. I appreciate how this tool gets at more than just "so what'd you do?" to the deeper heart issues of thoughts, energy level, feelings, rest, Bible memory, family, integrity, eating and exercise. I commend it to all of you to use.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Video from Matt Chandler on His Health...

Here's the link.

Again, I'm still amazed and encouraged at the faith and witness of Matt. The way he is using this to show that Jesus is His treasure should encourage us all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Preeminence

Today's sermon, Preeminence, from Colossians 1:19-20 is online. I thought we had a great morning. The sermon itself focused on Jesus' incarnation as well as His death to reconcile sinners. It was encouraging to look at these truths, because I know in my sin, I don't focus on Christ the way I need to during this season.

Anything stick out to anyone out there?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chalcedonian Christianity?

Here's what they confessed at Chalcedon:
THEREFORE, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge

one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body;

of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood;

like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the Godbearer;

one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
This Sunday, we will look at verses (Colossians 1:19-20) that get at some of these truths. Confess this with other believers and come ready to exalt the Preeminent One, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Keller on Criticism...

Specifically, the post is entitled How Do You Take Criticism of Your Views? by Tim Keller. I consistently find that no matter what I'm going through criticism accurately gets to my heart and what I value (read worship). This article is helpful in getting to the heart of the matter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Update on Chandler

Here's the latest on Matt Chandler, from the church's website:
Dear church,

In the first chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes that whatever imprisonments, beatings and trials he may have suffered, they all “serve to advance the gospel” of Jesus Christ. We implore you to keep the gospel of Christ as the main focus as we walk with Matt and Lauren through this trial.

On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.

Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.

The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.

You have done a wonderful job respecting the family, and we ask that you continue to do this. They are processing all of this together and need you to give them precious space. Please do not visit them at their house unless personally invited by the Chandlers. The best way to serve the family is to continue to be faithful in prayer. Specifically, pray for the following:

* Wisdom for all the coming decisions
* Strength and peace to endure
* The kids’ (Audrey, Reid and Norah) hearts; pray the Lord is merciful as they process and that their little hearts do not grow embittered
* The Chandlers and The Village would suffer well because of the gospel and for the sake of Christ’s name

As you hurt and weep for the family, do not do it alone. Gather with your home group and with other believers in homes and pray together. This is a time to walk together with others and to endure this trial in community. If you wish, send cards and letters to Matt and Lauren at 2101 Justin Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028.

We will continue to keep you informed as new information is made available. Please be patient with the frequency of the updates. May God strengthen us all and may His glory shine brightly through this.
That's the story as it stands today. Please continue to remember this family, church and the Gospel's progress through them in prayer.

The Pastor and Joy



Lord willing, I plan to attend the 2010 Desiring God Pastor's Conference. If you are in ministry and reading this, let's connect up there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Tiger Woods...

...a couple of must read posts from:

Al Mohler who offers some wise counsel so we don't miss the lessons for our lives through these happenings...

and

C.J. Mahaney who, as always, is so great at pointing us to personal application as well.

Holiday Music...

If you are looking for some different holiday music, go to Classic 99 out of St. Louis and listen to their radio broadcast online. During the holiday season, they play the best songs of the season in classical music style. Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who Is Jesus (2)

Had a great Lord's Day today yesterday. The sermon, Who is Jesus? (2), from Colossians 1:17-18 is now online. The two aspects of Christ's person that I developed were the fact that He is the sustainer of all creation and that He is the leader of the church.

I was personally encouraged that Jesus is Savior worth hoping in. He is holding all things together. When it seems like my life is crumbling and falling apart, Colossians 1:17 reminds me that He is in control. Any other applications out there?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Slow Blogging Week Last Week...

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I gave the updates on Chandler and then was off of the radar far a good bit last week. I took an extra day off to go the movies with my wife in Wichita. We saw Disney's The Christmas Carol in 3D, which was lots of fun. Then, on Friday, I got my new computer in the mail. After tinkering with that most of the weekend, I think I have all of the software updated and files transferred. So, hopefully, it will be back to business tomorrow.

Thought I owed my readers some sort of explanation.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Video from Matt

Video from Matt
Here's a video from Matt Chandler reflecting on what he was facing last weekend. They showed this at his home church this weekend. Amazing stuff.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Who is Jesus?

C.S. Lewis famously remarked that He's either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord. Today at Crestview, we looked at Colossians 1:15-16 to see a clear revelation of Jesus in a sermon entitled Who Is Jesus? The main points were pretty simple:

Jesus is God (15)
Jesus is Creator (16)

The big implication is that we weren't made to spend our days serving ourselves. We were made for something greater...we were made by Him, through Him and for Him.

I hope you were encouraged as we looked at Jesus today.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Carson on Gospel Centered in Christian Life...

Justin Buzzard recently asked D.A. Carson 4 questions "about the gospel, the upcoming generation, and doing ministry in unchurched regions like the San Francisco Bay Area." The first question is, "In a paragraph, what does it mean to be gospel-centered in one’s Christian life?" Carson's answer:
Some think of the gospel as so slender it does nothing more than get us into the kingdom. After that the real work of transformation begins. But a biblically-faithful understanding of the gospel shows that gospel to be rich, powerful, the wisdom of God and the power of God, all we need in Christ. It is the gospel that saves us, transforms us, conforms us to Christ, prepares us for the new heaven and the new earth, establishes our relations with fellow-believers, teaches us how to work and serve so as to bring glory to God, calls forth and edifies the church, and so forth. This gospel saves — and “salvation” means more than just “getting in,” but transformed wholeness. It would be easy to write many pages on how a gospel-centered ness affects all of life, but one must begin with a full-orbed understanding of what the gospel is and does.
Check out his post for the answers to other questions.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Week of Audio...

After listening to Chandler's excellent sermon...this week I've also listened to:

Sinclair Ferguson kick off advent with a Lord's Supper message on proclaiming Christ's death until He comes again. Lots of good stuff on eschatology in this short message.

I also listened (thanks to Thabiti) to an old message from a Piper Pastor's Conference back in 1989 from Kent Hughes related to his book Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. It was an excellent reminder of what faithful, cross-centered ministry looks like.

Listen and be encouraged.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Update on Matt Chandler...

(Thanks, Benjamin!)

The Elders of The Village report:

Matt will undergo surgery Friday afternoon

Pastor Matt Chandler will have surgery Friday afternoon to remove a tumor located in the frontal lobe of his brain. The surgery will be performed by Dr. David Barnett.

Dr. Barnett told Matt that he was positive about recovery but won’t know the full results until the surgery is performed. The doctor was uncertain about the malignancy of the tumor, and a biopsy will be performed as part of the surgery.

The outpouring of support and prayers from all over the world has been overwhelming to Matt and Lauren. Continue to pray and fast on behalf of the family. The church’s monthly prayer service will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Highland Village, Denton and Dallas Northway worship centers. We encourage you to fast throughout that day and join us to pray that evening. If you cannot join us, pray wherever you are.

We continue to rest in the knowledge that Matt is in the sovereign hand of our heavenly Father who loves him immensely more than we can comprehend, and He alone understands the reasons for this trial. Along with your prayers, continue to give Matt and Lauren and their family time and space for their continued rest.

He's Here...

From The Jesus Storybook Bible:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pray for Matt Chandler

In light of my recent blog post, I thought I would pass along this request from Challies and Thabiti: Pray for Matt Chandler. Challies writes:
Keep Matt Chandler in your prayers: "I have a small mass In my frontal lobe," Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas, wrote on his Twitter feed. "[I have a date] with the neurosurgeon early next week."
Let's lift this brother up and pray that God's will is accomplished.

Matt Chandler at Southern Seminary...

I know many of you appreciate the ministry of Matt Chandler. His gifts are amazing and he consistently is used by God to bless my soul (and challenge me to holiness). This was true in a recent sermon I finally got around to listening to. Matt preached at Southern Seminary. Here's the text, audio and video. Take time to consider his application of an amazing text for ministers.