Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Questions for Targeting Our Children's Hearts...

from Paul Tripp's Getting To the Heart of Parenting. We've been teaching a class of young adults this material. We worked through each of the 10 sessions, now, we are using the rest of the quarter to review the sessions 2 at a time. Last Sunday, we reviewed the sessions entitled "Targeting the Heart." Here are questions Tripp recommended using to get the heart and motive of your children:
What was going on?
What were you thinking and feeling as it was happening?
What did you do in response?
Why did you do it? or What were you seeking to accomplish?
What was the result?
To encourage younger parents, Tripp said he first used these when his 4 yr. old took a toy from his 2 yr. old brother. This is applicable stuff and can give us a grid to work from in engaging our children's hearts with the Gospel. Only Jesus can help these to do what is right and honorable to God!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Listening To Sermons Better...

...can be done in better and useful ways by taking some of these tips from this recent post from The Blazing Center: How To Listen To A Sermon. Among other things, they encourage us to:
Remember Who Is Speaking
Listen Intently
Listen With Humility
Listen With Application in View
I commend the entire post. Think: What is one thing you could do to improve your intake of the Word through sermons you listen to? Well, jump over and get the creative juices flowing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Recap - God Speaking, Sin Disappearing...

Just finally getting around to reviewing the happenings of the weekend at Crestview. It's always a joy to look back on Monday mornings.

In the Sunday School hour, Tom Dixon is wrapping up Marks of a Messenger by Mack Stiles and I am reviewing Paul Tripp's Getting to the Heart of Parenting in the adult classes. In my class, we looked at parenting by Targeting the Heart.

In AM Worship, we got into Hebrews finally, noticing how God Has Spoken in Hebrews 1:1-2 (unfortunately there will be no audio available on this sermon due to a problem in the capturing process). This sermon highlighted how God has spoken conclusively and specifically in Jesus Christ.

After a restful afternoon and absorbing KU's defeat, we gathered in small groups for the evening. We are working our way through Jerry Bridges book Respectable Sins. We read chapter 2-The Disappearance of Sin.

All in all, it was a full day. Some applications for me:
-- Don't look for more of a revelation than the full and final revelation we have in Christ.

-- Is sin disappearing from my life? Sure, we bemoan the lax stand of culture, but am I growing lax in my fight with sin, tolerating things God hates?

-- How can I get after my children's hearts better? By not being so driven to quick fix moments and taking time to apply the Gospel to their hearts (not merely behavior).

Hope your Lord's Day was rich and full, as well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Platt: "Do We Believe What We Say"

Wouldn't expect anything less from Platt, but here's a great video on universalism and the spreading of the Gospel. May we be struck with the awesome implications of this video by diligent application and devotion to the mission.

Do We Really Believe What We're Saying? from The Church at Brook Hills on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mark Driscoll's Leadership Coaching...



A new episode came out today, which I really appreciated on the Spirit-Led Leader. It seems that leaders are at their best when they are being led by God through the power of the Holy Spirit. If you don't get this, you can sign up. You would really benefit from them.

Leadership Coaching with Pastor Mark Driscoll

Monday, March 21, 2011

Loving My Wife...

In light of Pastor Mark's recent post Loving the Pastor's Wife and my sermon last night on marriage being something God has done to point to the Gospel, I thought I should say something about what a blessing my wife is. I've been enormously encouraged by her in recent days through some internal struggles I was facing. She is definitely a "helper fit for me." What I appreciate about her is her willingness to fly behind the scenes and devote herself to me and our family. Her life is given to serve in the church in ways, but her priority is to the Lord and, as such, the ministry we have been knit together to enjoy.

Even today, I got continual encouragements from her on a pretty consistent basis. So, thank God for the gift that He has given me and pray that Meg will love the Savior first and in so doing continue to be a gift to me (and Crestview).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Recap - Hebrews and God...

Great Lord's Day at Crestview today.

In the AM, we started on the book of Hebrews with a sermon entitled Introductory Matters, which looks at the big themes that we see in the book of Hebrews. Great time around those truths.

In the PM, my sermon Marriage Foundation: God, sought to counter our culture's view of marriage by looking at how God loved us in Christ as the foundation for marriage.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Family's Foundation This Sunday PM

This Sunday night, I plan to preach on Genesis 2:18-25 and point to God's desire for our marriages. To put it simply, we are to center on Him.

To open the message, I will allude to this quote on the Girl Talk site on An Ideal Marriage:
What do you want from your marriage? What would you change if you could?

No doubt something, or many things, come to mind. In one way or another marriage has probably fallen short of your expectations. But we must consider: where does our definition of "the ideal marriage" come from?

Do we get our cues from the culture and its illusive ideal of a mutually satisfying relationship? Do we compare our marriage to our friends' marriages, to our everlasting disappointment? Or are we myopically focused on our husband's weaknesses as the cause of our less than ideal marriage?

We need to ask: What does God want from my marriage? What does He want to change? What is His ideal?

Would it surprise you to know that His goal is not for you and your husband to have a "mutually satisfying relationship", or to have a marriage that's as good as or better than your friends, or to finally change that husband of yours?

His goal is far greater than that. His agenda far more glorious, far more satisfying.

What does God's ideal marriage look like?

The answer begins with a story. A long story. A beautiful story. The story of marriage in the Bible.
I hope to see you this Sunday PM and hope you find encouragement for your marriage and your lofty ideals.

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Series on Hebrews Starting this Sunday...

This Sunday, March 20, Lord willing, we will be starting a sermon series on the book of Hebrews. As a church, we are memorizing Hebrews 1:1-4. If you get time this weekend, try to read the book in one sitting. But, plan to come and be encouraged to persevere in the Gospel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Help When Sin Is Confessed...

...from The Blazing Center...
Do Respond Humbly

Do Identify With Their Struggle

Don’t Act Shocked

Don’t Blow It Off

Do Follow Up Later

Do Remember the Gospel

The post gives additional insight on each of these. I have found that I do well at some of these, but don't do a good job of following up later. So, we need to be inviting those who are struggling with sin, but we can't be satisfied with mere confession (as important as it is). We must be an instrument in God's hands for their sanctification. So, let's pursue this...

Keller on Cultivating a Healthy Marriage...

This sermon, Cultivating a Healthy Marriage by Tim Keller was recommended to me and I've found it helpful. Here's a summary of one section and how the Gospel brings perspective:
Human Heart Presupposition:
I’ll be the spouse I should be; if and to the degree you’re the spouse you should be.

Gospel Reenactment:
I’ll be the spouse I should be even if you’re not the spouse you should be since Jesus loved me in spite of me.
Listen and all your message to be shaped by the Gospel.

(*Updated with the following outline...)
Cultivating a Healthy Marriage
Timothy and Kathy Keller

1.Think of marriage like a garden
A. Whether rain or draught is going to take lots of work
B. Marriage is not the flowers, sod, or leaves but it’s to the best fruit out of the “garden”
C. Can’t walk away from a garden for a few days and think it took care of itself

2.Planning/Planting
A. Why did you get married?
1. Happiness?
2. Family Stability?
3. Both 1 and 2 are unbiblical!
B. Gospel Reenactment is the purpose
1. Requires Gospel Motivation
2. Sacrificial love creates freedom
3. Sacrificial love is always an action first and feeling second
4. Servant or ministry perspective should always be used

3. Headship - both husband and wife play Jesus
A. Husband is the head of the family like Jesus is head of church
B. Wife plays Jesus submitting to the Father to glorify and serve
C. Both headship reveal God’s character because male and female are both created in God’s image
D. Helper possesses strengths the other doesn’t

4. Authority
A. Never used to get something they want
B. Always a gift and used in service to the best interests of the other
C. Voluntary submission between equals
D. Jesus gave used His authority as a sacrifice and will be forever in glory

5. Submission
A. Jesus revolutionizes headship and submission
B. He is exalted above all for His service to God’s children
C. Never submit to a man who is habitually sinning against God

6.Communication
A. Always ask, “What is the goal in what I’m about to say?”
B. Remember the log in your eye
C. Attack the problem not the person
D. Slow down your responses and let the other talk

7.Love Language
A. Behaviors that others do to make me feel loved
B. Speak in the same language. If you speak in French or German your English speaking spouse won’t get it.

8.Conflict Resolution
A. Conflict avoiders and conflict confronters, which are you and why?
B. Use all your energy to solve the problem instead of attacking
C. Keeping a scorecard is a recipe for death in any relationship and especially marriage!
D. The occasion of the conflict never supersedes the cause of the conflict. The cause is always a sinful heart!!

9.Repentance and forgiveness
A. Truth without love ends in breaking people apart
B. Love without truth leads to avoidance of the problem and zero growth
C. No excuses, center on the wrong, and offer to change

Encouragement in Scripture Memory

Our church is in the midst of a Scripture memory program. The Elder sit down and try to anticipate what the theme will be on Sundays throughout a year and find appropriate passages of Scripture to memorize. We are in the midst of memorizing Hebrews 1:1-4 now to coincide with our Hebrews sermon series starting this weekend.

Here's a few encouraging links on Scripture memory I've found recently.

Andy Naselli blogged on helping younger children memorize and recently updated that post.

Sojourn Church is memorizing Romans 8 in 40 Days and have a devotional with some great tips. We will be memorizing Romans 8:31-39 later this year.

So, I hope you have this week's verse down (or it's in process)...

Hebrews 1:1
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From Weekend @ Crestview - Sermon from Rick

For all the Crestview peeps...

Rick Cornish's sermon, Maturing In Christ Through The Word, from Colossians 1:28-29 is now online. I've listened to a bit so far and if you didn't get a chance to hear it, or would like a refresher from Sunday, take advantage now...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reminder...

Save daylight by joining others and springing forward tonight.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday, Lent and Other Things...

Today is Ash Wednesday (cue the yawn from most of Protestantism). We don't tend to think or observe these days in the church year because we perceive that in some cases what they mean has been hijacked for empty ritual (in the best thinking) or we are just plain ignorant (at worst).

Lent was a traditional time in the early life of the church when converts would prepare themselves for baptism. It was a time of deep reflection and purification preparing one's heart to celebrate the passion week events of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter. Ash Wednesday marks the day in which we're 40 days out (of Easter).

If you are looking for help in going deeper with God this season, check out the amazing tools at Apostles Church NYC. Specifically, they are doing 40 Days of Prayer, including a daily devotional. Here's their description of Lent and what they hope to accomplish:
Lent is intended to be a time of refinement, reflection, repentance, worship, and preparation to really celebrate the death of Jesus on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. In 40 Days of Prayer, we sincerely hope to lead our people (and ourselves) through Lent and into a deeper delight in Jesus, appreciation for the gospel, and desire to "seek things above" out of his goodness.
Find ways to seek the Savior and honor Him in this season. May the grace of our Lord be with you richly as you think about Him and His work.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Weekend Recap - Affluenza, Money, & Family

Yesterday was a great day at Crestview as we journeyed together and thought about what God had to say to us about money, possessions, eternity.

In the AM service, my sermon Affluenza (2) from Matthew 6:21 is now online. This sermon sought to show how our hearts follow treasure (and yes I did quote O Brother Where Art Thou -- "Do NOT seek the treasure", thanks for wondering). Seriously, though, we must keep our hearts with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life. I sought to encourage people to check their hearts in terms of the treasure they lay up.

In the PM service, we continued examining what a Gospel centered family is by looking at Families and Money from 1 Timothy 6:17-19. We are given good things from a good God so that we can do good (be generous and ready to share with others) for a good foundation for eternity. Applications were given about instilling these virtues in our children.

I hope this short series of sermon was helpful. Glorify God in these things, they have eternal ramifications.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Learning To Pray (Again)

As a church, we've spent a great deal of time over the past few months thinking about prayer and what that means for us. Today, I was encouraged to read a post by Thabiti entitled Learning to Pray...Again. I would commend the post to you because he gets to some core struggles we all face (not praying enough, thinking we don't pray well, etc.) and offers some wise and godly encouragement. Here's his conclusion:
I’m learning to pray this way again. I suspect that once I’ve “learned” this time, the Lord will teach me yet more.
Why not head over and check out this post and learn to pray...again, yourself.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Confession as a path to change...

Over at the Desiring God blog, they posted part 1 of The Grace of Confession by Paul Tripp. Meanwhile on Take Your Vitamin Z, Zach Nielsen posted an excerpt from Tripp's book, What Did You Expect, highlighting this same truth (No Change Without Confession). Here's the excerpt:
The couple is stuck in a cycle of repeating the same things over and over again. They repeat the same misunderstandings. They rehearse and re-rehearse the same arguments. They repeat the same wrongs. Again and again things are not resolved. Night after night they go to bed with nothing reconciled; they awake with memories of another bad moment, and they march toward the next time when the cycle will be repeated. It all becomes predictable and discouraging. They hate the cycle. They wish things were what they once were. Their minds swing between nostalgia and disappointment. They want things to be different, but they don’t seem to know how to break free, and they don’t seem willing to do the one thing that makes change possible—confess.

They tell themselves they will do better. They promise they will spend more time together. They promise they will pray together for a moment before they start their day. They decide to spend more time together outside the house. They promise they will talk more. But it is not long before all the promises fade away. It is not long before they are in the same place again. All their commitments to change have been subverted by the one thing they seem unwilling to do: take the focus off the other and put it on themselves. Here is the point: no change takes place in a marriage that does not begin with confession.

Confession is the doorway to growth and change in your relationship. It is essential. It is fundamental. Without it you are relegated to a cycle of repeated and deepening patterns of misunderstanding, wrong, and conflict. With it, the future is bright and hopeful, no matter how big the issues that you are now facing.
Confess sin and see if God doesn't work to impart grace and begin to change you.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Martyn Lloyd Jones Video Interview

30 years ago today, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones left this life for the next. Here's a tribute from the Lloyd-Jones Recording Trust including a video interview with the Dr.

Signs You Are Growing in Grace

...from Scotty Smith compiled by Tim Brister. Here's part one:
A sign you’re growing in grace is less bombast about not being a legalist & more humility because you “get” the gospel.

A sign you’re growing in grace is less theological arrogance & greater appreciation for diversity in the Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace is you work much harder at remembering names and forgetting slights.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that everybody notices it but you.

A sign you’re growing in grace is movement from destructive cynicism towards redemptive engagement. Anybody can spew.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that you’re less like a drive-by-shooting with criticisms & more of a healing presence.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when you receive feedback non-defensively and give it clearly & lovingly.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when people don’t feel like they have to walk on egg shells around you as much.

A sign you’re growing in grace is when you say, “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, and you follow through on at least 50%.

A sign you’re growing in grace is committing fewer homicides in your heart of slow drivers.

A sign you’re growing in grace is praying for our government rather than simply being cynical about our government.

A sign you are growing in grace is that you are more disgusted with your critical spirit than offended by others’ sins.
And here's part two:
Another sign you’re growing in grace. You’ve actually read Nahum and Obadiah.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You catch people “doing it right” in a 3 to 1 ratio to “doing it wrong”.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You don’t try to take 23 items through the 10 item speed check out line at Publix.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You’re in your seat in the worship center 7 minutes early to pray for the service.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. On a 2-lane-becoming-1 road, you don’t speed up just to jet around 3 extra cars.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. Your repentances come quicker with less pouting, excuses and vain promises.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You throw less pity-parties, because you go to Jesus quicker than to self-contempt.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You talk about your justification 10 times more than your victimization.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You quote Jesus more than you quote Tim Keller.

A sign you’re growing in grace is a commitment to give your spouse focused, unrushed attention at the END of the day.

A sign you’re growing in grace is just grabbing a brownie without looking for the biggest or best crust-edged brownie.

A sign you’re growing in grace is when you use less labels to dismiss people or marginalize their comments.

A sign you’re growing in grace is still being gracious to telemarketers when they call your protected phone number.

A sign you’re growing in grace is a commitment to pray for people you’d really rather gossip about.

A sign you’re growing in grace is not texting or reading emails on your pda while driving, with or without kids.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You no longer simply assume if you can pay for something you really can afford it.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You recognize the subtle ways you’re living justification by sanctification.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. Your spouse and children are the first to notice the signs.

Another sign you’re growing in grace. You get sucker-punched by condemnation for sin less often, but convicted much more.

A sign you’re growing in grace. You don’t use your car horn to curse bad drivers, but appropriately caution & warn them.

A sign you’re growing in grace. The gospel still astonishes & humbles you. It’s not just cliche or the name of your tribe.

A sign you’re growing in grace. If you USED to be a Dispensationalist, you’re not cynical about those who still are.

A sign you’re growing in grace. If you USED to be a Charismatic, you don’t atrophy into dead or dry orthodoxy.

A sign you’re growing in grace. If you’re “finally” Reformed, you don’t confuse knowledge with spirituality.

A sign you’re growing in grace. You realize that Presbyterian and Reformed types are .07% of the entire Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace. The more you learn about Jesus & the gospel the more you realize how little YOU know.
I know this is a lengthy post, but if you are like me at all, I sometimes puff myself in self-righteousness thinking that I've arrived and I'm altogether doing pretty well spiritually. Of course, I would never admit this publicly, because to do so would be to crucify my self-righteousness. Reading these helps me see the far reaching nature of the Gospel's influence into my life. I encourage you to allow the gaze of God to extend to even those minute moments. May these signs encourage you to embrace the Gospel again.