Archive for November, 2008


I’m thankful for books. I’m thankful that God gave me a love for reading early in life, and that there are so many good books from which to choose.

As Paul wrote to Timothy, When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments (2 Tim. 4:13). Especially during his second Roman imprisonment (when he wrote this epistle), one of the things Paul asked for was books. Good man!

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I’m thankful to God for my wife. She’s loving, patient, intelligent, and many, many other things. Most of all, she’s God’s gift to me. Thank You, Lord!

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Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:1-2)

I’m thankful for the good congregation God has given me to pastor – Immanuel Community Church – and the good elders to serve alongside.

I’m thankful for the good students God has given me to teach at Cor Deo Christian Academy – and the good staff, faculty, principle, and board to serve alongside, too.

More to come every day this week.

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My preaching in the Gospel of Mark has brought us to Mark 3:7-19. I’ve really enjoyed it, never having preached through it before.

One of the things that jumped out at me in the last section (3:7-19) is that Jesus chose all kinds of different men to be His apostles.

He appointed twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:16-19 in the ESV).

Four fishermen, one tax collector, one member of an extreme political party, and six others we know little about, except Judas Iscariot – the one who betrayed Jesus. They didn’t all have the same personality types. They all had different backgrounds. Each of them had different skills, talents, and abilities. None of them were exactly alike and that’s the point.

The Lord uses all of us to accomplish His purpose and plan. We all have a unique part to play in the kingdom of God. Therefore, none of us should ever think we can’t be used by God because we’re not like somebody else (they’re not like us, either, are they!). God uses all kinds of “cracked pots” as useful vessels.

Something to think about and for which to be thankful to God.

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Charles Ringsma writes: 

There is no virtue in isolating ourselves from the world. This will not safeguard our spirituality. But it will certainly condemn us to irrelevance. There is no virtue in being culturally “trendy” and accepting blindly the latest offering in the round of personal and social “cures.” At the same time, there is no merit in being out of touch with the critical issues of our time. Ellul laments that Christians are usually “several steps behind.” Consequently, they seek to provide answers to questions that people are no longer asking. Instead, the Christian is called to be both relevant and different. If we fail to be relevant, we cannot be heard. If we fail to be different, we have nothing to say. This calls us to both a critical immersion in the issues of the world of our day and in a withdrawal for the purpose of reflection, prayer, and discernment.

Something to think about. Being “in the world, but not of it” is like walking a tightrope – it isn’t easy, but it’s what we’re called to by God.

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One of the best definitions of evangelism I’ve heard I remember from Campus Crusade for Christ – “sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit while leaving the results to God.”

Why can’t we have a similar definition of building the church– “fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit while leaving the results to God”? we must be faithful tot he task God has given us, but ultimately the results lie with God.

It seems so simple, but it’s actually quite hard. I know. I try to take the results into my own hands far too many times. We all need to remember that the church belongs to Jesus and He will build it. We also need to be thankful that He chooses to use clay pots like you and me in order to accomplish it.

Work hard. Be faithful. Leave the results to God.

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Tony Payne recounts this story of a pastor who responds to a complaining man with five words. It may seem harsh, but it really is true. You can read it here.

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