Saturday, October 24, 2009

Great Sermon Intro

At my desk, I have written out the introduction to Charles Spurgeon's first sermon. It is fantastic as it points us resoundingly to behold God. I hope it encourages you as much as it does me.

The Immutability of God

A Sermon
(No. 1)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 7th, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

"I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."—Malachi 3:6

It has been said by some one that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with the solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing." No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel—

"Great God, how infinite art thou,
What worthless worms are we!"

But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals; he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One of the Funniest Comedians Around

7 Amazing Promises from the Second Half of Romans 8

1. The Spirit prays for us!
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

2. All things work together for good for those who love God!
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

3. His eternal plan is sure!
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

4. If God be for us who can stand against us?
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

5. God will graciously give us all things!
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

6. No one can bring a charge against God’s elect, Jesus is praying for us!
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

7. Nothing can separate us from the mighty love of God!
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Just When You Think You Have Heard It All

Article from World Magazine

“Abortion is a blessing”

An excerpt:

"An item in New Directions, a publication of the traditional Anglican movement Forward in Faith, reported the news that the Rev. Katherine Ragsdale was recently appointed dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. It went on to recall a speech she gave in Birmingham, Ala., a couple of years ago on the subject of abortion (which Marvin Olasky also commented on in a WORLD column back in May):
When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one, because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.
And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe affordable abortion, there is not a tragedy in sight; only blessing.
The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing. These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

What more need be said?"

God have mercy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If I died today some things that become more obviously true:

I am very weak and God is very strong. He never dies. I will certainly die and I have no idea when.

He is holy and I am not – Instantly from whatever I happened to be doing I would be moved into His holy presence where I would be dumbstruck and jabbering. My unworthiness will overwhelm me and I will become instantly aware of my impossible-to-express-how-great need for righteousness outside of myself.

Life is very short and I wasted a lot of it. Oh on that day I will certainly have regrets. God please give more grace to live each day with less and less regret.

A lot of things that presently have my attention will instantly not have any, my bank account, team standings, my weight, the next good movie to see. None of these things are evil, they simply will move to zero on the importance scale.

A lot of things that have some measure of my attention will suddenly rocket up in importance though my ability to act in any way regarding them will have ended. My own situation with God will have been fixed. I will be unable to pray for or speak to anyone whom I love regarding their salvation or my concern for them.

If I died today, would I be ready? No, not in many ways. Oh Father give grace that I might live today and this week and this year that I might be more ready for my last day than I am today. Help me to live with the end in sight and to know that I am Christ's and He is mine!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ABC News - How to Buy a Child in 10 Hours

A tragic story that highlights the plight of child slave an hour away from our country. There are 300,000 children enslaved in Haiti. They are known as Restavecs. Believers must respond!

Follow the link.

Hope for Orphans



I will be posting some information about Haiti as I prepare to go on brief trip with Loving Shepherd Ministries. Here are some videos that help tell the story.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Great Post from Tripp on What Hinders Community?

What Hinders Community?

Here is the final question from our interview with Paul Tripp.

What is the greatest hindrance to cultivating community in the American church?

The first thing that comes to mind is frenetic western-culture busyness.

I read a book on stress a few years back, and the author made a side comment that I thought was so insightful. He said that the highest value of materialistic western culture is not possessing. It's actually acquiring.

If you're a go-getter you never stop. And so the guy who is lavishly successful doesn't quit, because there are greater levels of success. "My house could be bigger, I could drive better cars, I could have more power, I could have more money."

And so we've bought an unbiblical definition of the good life of success. Our kids have to be skilled at three sports and play four musical instruments, and our house has to be lavish by whatever standard. And all of that stuff is eating time, eating energy, eating money. And it doesn't promote community.

I think often that even the programs of a local church are too sectored and too busy. As if we're trying to program godliness. And so the family is actually never together because they're all in demographic groupings. Where do we have time where we are pursuing relationships with one another, living with one another, praying with one another, talking with one another?

I've talked to a lot of families who literally think it's a victory to have 3 or 4 meals all together with one another in a week, because they're so busy. Well, if in that family unit they're not experiencing community, there's no hope of them experiencing it outside of that family unit.

We have families that will show up at our church on Sunday morning with the boys dressed in their little league outfits, and I know what's going to happen. They're going to leave the service early. Now what a value message to that little boy! Do I think little league is bad? I don't think it's bad at all. I think it's great. But they're telling him what's important as they do that.

You can't fit God's dream (if I can use that language) for his church inside of the American dream and have it work. It's a radically different lifestyle. It just won't squeeze into the available spaces of the time and energy that's left over.

And I'm as much seduced by that as anybody. We have sold our four-bedroom house because our kids are gone, and we've bought a loft in Chinatown, Philadelphia. And we're amazed at how simple our life has become. We're grieving over how we let our life get so complicated.

Last year, for example, I put almost $2,500 worth of gas in my car. This year, I've put $159 in the first quarter. It's because we're walking places, and that slows our life down, and we're near the people in our church because we're within walking distance of the church. And we've had so many natural encounters with people because of that.

We're living in a much smaller place. We got rid of most of our stuff. As we went through it, we laughed about how we just collected stuff. All that stuff has to be maintained. It grabs your heart, it grabs your schedule, it grabs your time. It becomes a source of worry and concern and need to pay.

So we've just been confronted with how all of those things that aren't evil in themselves become the complications of life that keep us away from the kind of community that we need in order to hold on to our identity.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

All Time Favorite Sermons - # 3 (Not in Any Order)

John Piper - T4G 2006

It is an amazing thing to hear a room of thousands of preachers sit in stunned silence after a message.  And then when words return to hear, "If that is preaching, I have never preached."  God through His Spirit so anointed John Piper in that room that it felt as though a bomb went off.  It was powerful and amazing.

All Time Favorite Sermons - # 2 (Not in Any Order)

Bruce Ware preached three messages on the Trinity that were light's out.  I guarantee your understanding of the Trinity and the inter-relationship among the Persons of the Godhead will grow along with your joy!

All Time Favorite Sermons - # 1 (Not in Any Order)

If you are not thinking enough about Heaven, let me encourage you to listen to the message Sam Storms gave a few years back.  It will stimulate to think about and meditate on and hope for Heaven more!  If you have not listened to this you need to.

Conviction of the Holy Spirit or Accusation of the Devil

Here is some very helpful insight from Ray Ortlund:

Conviction or accusation?
"He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." John 16:8

". . . the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down . . . ." Revelation 12:10

How can I tell the difference between the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and the accusing attacks of Satan? Some thoughts:

1. The Holy Spirit puts his finger on a specific sin I have committed, something concrete I can own and confess, but the accusations of Satan are vague and simply demoralizing.

2. The Holy Spirit shows me Christ, the mighty Friend of sinners, but the devil wants me spiraling down into negative self-focus.

3. The Holy Spirit leads me to a threshold of new life, but the devil wants to paralyze me where I am.

4. The Holy Spirit brings peace of heart along with a new hatred of sin, so that I bow before Jesus in reconsecration, but the devil offers peace of mind with smug relief, so that I fold my arms and say, "There, that's over with."

5. The Holy Spirit helps me to be so open to God that I allow him to control the conversation, but the devil tempts me to take off the table certain questions I just don't want God to talk to me about.

We are thankful for our dear Friend, the Holy Spirit.