Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Tonight, God-willing, we are going to discuss Philippians 2:12-16. This is a beautiful reminder that we are commanded to work, and yet it's not us who works. It is God who is working within us both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This is a glorious truth that I'm looking forward to seeing with friends tonight. It looks like we ought to have a good crowd tonight. If you are interested, you can be here at 7:00. If you need directions, just reply with your email and I'll send them to you.
Over the past several days I have told many people that I am really struggling because I miss preaching on a regular basis. However, as I was praying last night and thinking through some Scriptures, I realized that I was preaching pridefully. Here's what I mean (in way of confession). There is a joy for me to get up and proclaim the Word of God (which is not a bad thing). However, the Bible says that some are called as preacher/teachers to equip the saints. Here's where the Lord really convicted me last night and throughout today. Do I really love God AND people? Actually, if you truly love God you WILL love people. But is my motivation for preaching based on that. In other words, do I preach just to get the point of the text across (obviously of great importance)? Or do I love the people enough to seek their understanding of the text so that it will be applied to their lives and they will be conformed into the image of Christ? It seems like such a fine line there, but it's there nonetheless. If I get up and preach week in and week out, but care not about the affect it has on those who hear, am I really preaching with the right motives? I think the answer is clear. I want to confess that I have preached too many times without thinking and hoping for the proper application of the Word of God. I have preached too often with the desire to hear that it was good and that I handled the text accurately (again, very important). But I have not desired enough to see the Word of God enter into the hearts of men and women so that they would change as a result. So, why preach? For the glory of God! For the salvation and sanctification of His people. Lord help us all to preach Your Word with passion and accuracy so that many more will worship You because of it.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
A while back I wrote a post of gratitude for my good friend Wil Owens. I have also posted on one of his sermons here. You can go here to see more of his sermons and to learn more of him. However, I just found out today that he is also on blogspot now here. So with that being said, I say welcome my friend.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Okay, I have heard that John Piper has preached a sermon that I think is called You Don't know how to Plant a Church. I have no idea if that is the name of it or not. It could be that he just talked about that. Either way, I don't know how to find it. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
From The Valley of Vision
Thy main plan, and the end of thy will is to make Christ glorious and beloved in heaven, where he is now ascended, where one day all the elect will behold his glory and love and glorify him for ever.
Though here I love him but little, may this be my portion at last.
In this world thou hast given me a beginning, one day it will be perfected in the realm above.
Thou hast helped me to see and know Christ, though obscurely, to take him, receive him, to possess him, love him, to bless him in my heart, mouth, life.
Let me study and stand for discipline, and all the ways of worship, out of love for Christ; and to show my thankfulness; to seek and know his will from love, to hold it in love, and daily to care for and keep this state of heart.
Thou hast led me to place all my nature and happiness in oneness with Christ, in having heart and mind centred only on him, in being like him in communicating good to others;
This is my heaven on earth,
But I need to the force, energy, impulses of thy Spirit to carry me on the way to my Jerusalem.
Here, it is my duty to be as Christ in this world, to do what he would do, to live as he would live, to walk in love and meekness; then would he be known, then would I have peace in death.
Since Shannon and I have resolved that, as far as we know, we are planning to plant a church, I would love some wisdom from others. How would you go about establishing a core group of people for the church plant? What things would you stress during the time of meeting before the new church "launches" publicly? What would you determine as the primary reasons for choosing a particular place to plant? I ask all of these questions, and there are plenty more, because I truly want to hear from others. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I have had several conversations with people lately about our city, Rocky Mount. The bottom line is that there are several lost people within our city limits who are not consistently hearing the gospel. It is real easy to assume that someone else is taking the gospel to people. I want to call on us all to pray and to seek for opportunities to take the gospel to everyone in Rocky Mount. Sure that is a high goal, but it is also a lofty one. Would you commit to praying for our city and seeking to find ways to take the gospel to everyone within our city limits?
Friday, July 18, 2008
For those of you who do not know Jason Sessoms, I would like to encourage you to go tonight to Java Motts and hear him and others play music. They are an encouragement to our souls because they sing songs with good theology. Plus, you can have some good coffee at the same time. Add a book in the mix, or a good conversation, and you have a great night. I hope to see you there.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
As I continue to read through The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, I have been encouraged by the unbelievable Biblical data that Owen presents in this book. His argument has been dealing with what exactly Christ accomplished on the cross for sinners. He has argued that those whom He suffered for He has also been the mediator for. Here's an argument that I've heard before, but I'll quote it from Owen.
To which I may add this dilemma to our Universalist: - God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God enter into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in his sight: "If the LORD should mark iniquities, who should stand?" Ps. cxxx. 3. We might all go to cast all that we have "to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty," Isa. ii. 20, 21. If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect of the world. If the first, why, then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, "Because of their unbelief; they will not believe." But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, they why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will.
With just a couple more months before the ESV Study Bible comes out, they have released Psalms in PDF for preview. I am not usually a fan of study Bibles, but I think this one has the potential to be worth the money (in fact, I've already ordered mine!).
You can also go here to see Justin Taylor's post about it.
Monday, July 14, 2008
My precious little girl, Abigail Grace, turns three today. It is unbelievable to me that three years have already past. She is truly a gift of grace from the Lord. Happy Birthday Abigail! These are a few pictures from her party with family on July 5th.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I have recently ventured into reading John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, and it has already proved beneficial. However, reading Owen is not easy. I don't have enough dictionaries to follow everything. With that being said, I just read this paragraph from the opening section written to the readers of this book. He is combating the idea of a general atonement and the idea of "free-will" which goes along with it. I found this sentence very good.
It seems our blessed Redeemer's deep humiliation, in bearing the chastisement of our peace and the punishment of our transgressions, being made a curse and sin, deserted under wrath and the power of death, procuring redemption and the remission of sins through the effusion of his blood, offering himself up a sacrifice to God, to make reconciliation and purchase an atonement, his pursuing this undertaking with continued intercession in the holy of holies, with all the benefits of his mediatorship, do no way procure either life and salvation or remission of sins, but only serve to declare that we are not indeed what his word affirms we are,--namely, cursed, guilty, defiled, and only not actually cast into hell.
Monday, July 7, 2008
This week I have an opportunity to preach at a youth camp for FBC Metropolis, IL. My former youth pastor, Cliff Easter, invited me to speak here this week. We've decided to preach and focus on the cross all week. I will be preaching 8 times in five days. Here are the messages:
How will you Hear? (Luke 8)
The Cross and Our Sin (Genesis 3)
The Cross and God's Sacrifice (Hebrews 9)
The Cross and God's Sovereignty (Isaiah 53)
The Cross and God's Glory (Ephesians 1)
The Cross and Justification (Romans 5)
The Cross and Boasting (Galatians 6)
The Cross and Missions (1 Corinthians 1)
We are also going to have a small group time where everyone will read and discuss C. J. Mahaney's book The Cross Centered Life. We would certainly appreciate your prayers. If I can post through the week I will, if not, I'll try to give a summary after Friday.
Friday, July 4, 2008
I have said for quite some time that my Greek has really fallen off since I took it a few years ago in college. I have decided that it is time for that to change. I am spending the rest of this summer trying to review my Greek so that I will be able to better understand, apply, and teach the New Testament. I have just started reading David Black's book Learn to Read New Testament Greek. Has anyone read this? What are your thoughts about this book? So far, I've enjoyed it.