Saturday, November 29, 2008

Out of Shape

I am sitting here contemplating the fact that I need to exercise and get back in shape. Believe it or not, I played sports year round until I graduated from high school (which seems like a very long time ago at this point....1995). I played soccer which demanded me to be in good shape; I wrestled which made me be in great shape; and I played church softball which kept me going until soccer started back. However, I am no where close to that kind of shape. Now, I'm in a different shape (which you do not need to comment or amen or anything). But the Lord has been convicting me for years now about how I eat and how I take care of my body. I used to publicly claim that I was going to do this or that and then fail at my attempts to get back into shape. Then I quit sharing and hoped to "surprise" people when I got in shape. Neither of those have worked. So, here I am, out of shape, still convicted, and needing a change. So this is a post asking for advice on how to get in shape. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Where do I begin? Keep in mind, I'm heavy enough right now that running hurts my knees and the ankle I broke a few years ago. I may have to lose about 20-30 pounds before I can run. What are your suggestions?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

10 Things I'm Thankful For (in no particular order)

1. The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ who purchased me and took upon Him my sin and God's wrath.

2. The grace of God which enables me to walk with Him everyday.
3. My beautiful wife of 8 years.
4. My precious daughter who is truly a gift from God.
5. The opportunity to preach every week to the same brothers and sister in Christ.
6. My mother who has shown more strength in raising children than any woman I know.
7. Friends who love me enough to hold me accountable before God.
8. Coffee (I have to throw that one in).
9. A heart from God that hopes to adopt in the future.
10. The truth that though I struggle everyday, God is always faithful.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Extended Quote from Mahaney

I have just recently finished rereading Humility: True Greatness by C. J. Mahaney and it was better this time that the previous ones. This quote from the chapter on how to begin each day is a great encouragement and challenge to me:
I've found that it's possible for me to charge into my day motivated by self-sufficiency. But I've also learned that the very act of opening my Bible to read and turning my heart and mind to prayer makes a statement that I need God. i find great benefit from this understanding, because lie you, I have wildly fluctuating emotional experiences from day to day in my devotion. One morning I'm profoundly aware that God is near to me, while the next day I can sense only His absence. In a matter of hours I go from what seems to be an effortless experience of pure joy to asking, "Where are You? Where did You go?"
The fact is, of course, He didn't go anywhere. Yesterday H allowed me to sense His presence; today He seems to be sending the message, "I want you to grow more in your trust of Me; therefore, I'm withdrawing that sense of My nearness."
I've learned that regardless of how I feel when I'm finished reading my Bible in the morning, I can know that I've made the statement, "I need You, I'm dependent upon You." By quietly pausing to study and read and pray before launching my workday, I can be confident that I've taken a step to weaken pride and strengthen humility.

A Challenging Thought for Parenting

In Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney he gives this very challenging word for parents. He writes, "If you aren't faithful to encourage, you can be sure you will eventually exasperate your child. But if you are faithful, then when the time comes for necessary correction - and they will come - the adjustment will be far more effective because the environment you've created isn't correction centered, but grace centered."

How have you sought to create a grace centered environment in your home?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful for the Gospel

This morning I was blessed with the glorious opportunity to preach. My message was out of Acts 16:25-34 where the Philippian jailer is converted. I ended with 10 things that we should be thankful for about the gospel. It was a list that was certainly not exhaustive. I'd love to hear more thoughts from you about things that you are thankful for about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More of God

I've been thinking this morning about why we Christians are not more thankful about the gospel of Christ. I think the reason is because we need to know more of God. If we knew more of God we would know that He is holy. If we really knew that He is holy then we would know more of how sinful we really are. If we really understood the depth of our sin how could we not be more thankful for the gospel. So I think we need to know more of God so that we will be more thankful for what God has done on behalf of sinners in Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What does the Cross Mean to You?

I want to hear from you. "What does the cross mean to you?" Your answers can be theological or practical. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Characterizes your Life?

Often times we can quote the fruit of the Spirit from memory. However, how many of you can quote the deeds of the flesh from the verses just before them? And an even more crucial question is: which list characterizes your life? If we walk by the Spirit the fruit of the Spirit will be evident. If we gratify the flesh we will not inherit the kingdom of God. So check your heart and see what characterizes your life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

How Pleased are You with Your Preaching?

Most preachers that I know personally would not ever say they are great preachers. In fact, most preachers I know wouldn't even say they were good preachers. The problem is that what many preachers say and what many preachers feel deep down often times are not the same. I say this because most every preacher I know has to battle pride and being told by their members or friends that they are good preachers. Before you know, you start to believe that statement and, though you'd never say it to others, you think you're a good preacher. As I have began reading Preaching and Preachers (again) by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones I was humbled by this one phrase in the preface, "I can say quite honestly that I would not cross the road to listen to myself preaching, and the preachers whom I have enjoyed most have been very different indeed in their method and style." I was humbled for 2 reasons:

1. I'm sure I think more highly of my preaching than I ever should.
2. I have a tendency to be just like those preachers who minister most to my soul, which could be an indication that I'm to focused on others being "like me."

My pride runs very deep! Am I alone in this struggle?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You Must Be Born Again

As I've been preparing to preach this coming Sunday on John 3, something extremely important comes to mind. This text is very clear that no one can see the kingdom unless they are first born again, and that the only way one is born again is through the Spirit who goes wherever He wills. In The Pillar New Testament Commentary for John, D. A. Carson says of verse 8:

"The point is that the wind can be neither controlled nor understood by human beings (remembering of course that this was written before modern meteorology alleviated at least some of our lack of understanding). But that does not mean we cannot detect the wind's effects. We hear its sound, watch the swaying grasses, see the clouds scudding by, hide in fear before the worst wind storms. So it is with the Spirit. We can neither control him nor understand him. But that does not mean we cannot witness his effects. Where the Spirit works, the effects are undeniable and unmistakeable." (Page 197)

Isn 't it great to know that even though He goes where He wills, we can still see His work when someone is born-again?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting Settled

I just wanted to give a quick update about our new ministry. We have moved and are trying to get unpacked and settled in. We had a great first Sunday as we were able to partake of the Lord's Supper together. I began my preaching ministry here with an emphasis on the gospel that will take us through November and looking at aspects of the cross on Sunday evenings that will also take us through November. Starting in December I plan to take Sunday mornings and evenings to work through the book of James. There is a lot of excitement here as well as a lot to learn. The people of First Baptist have been very kind and gracious. I thank the Lord for them and for what He will do in our midst. I'll hopefully start posting more regularly again soon.