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Archive for April, 2011

A real solution can only be found when we have a clear understanding of the problem. In terms of humanity, D.A. Carson writes:

Third, seen in this light, Genesis 3, shows what we most need. If you are a Marxist, what you need are revolutionaries and decent economists. If you are a psychologist, what you need is an army of counselors. If you think that the root of all breakdown and disorder is medical, what you really need is large numbers of Mayo Clinics. But if our first and foremost serious need is to be reconciled to God – a God who now stands over against us and pronounces death upon us because of our willfully chosen rebellion – then what we need the most, though we may have all of these other derivative needs, is to be reconciled to him. We need someone to save us.

You cannot make sense of the Bible until you come to agreement with what the Bible says our problem is. If you do not see what the Bible’s analysis of the problem is, you cannot come to grips with the Bible’s analysis of the solution. The ultimate problem is our alienation from God, our attempt to identify ourselves merely with reference to ourselves, this idolatry that de-gods God; and what we must have is reconciliation back to this God, or we have nothing.

(From The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story)

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I had the privilege of preaching on Matthew 28:1-10 yesterday morning – the morning we focus our attention on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He is worthy of our trust and our life.

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Generalization is the raw material of wisdom. If we can’t make general statements about people, things, or events, wisdom falls by the wayside. It’s obvious that Glenn T. Stanton believes in the concept – his book Secure Daughters, Confident Sons is based upon it.

The subtitle is How Parents Guide Their Children Into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity gives us a clue to the purpose of the book. Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, has written this book as a manual for parents based upon gender differences. Even though many in our society foolishly deny any differences between men and women, we ignore them to our peril. Boys and girls, moms and dads, are “wired” differently because they’ve been created and designed by God to be His image-bearers. God’s invisible character and nature are reflected through both male and female – not one or the other.

Stanton uses these differences to provide concrete instruction and counsel to parents. Boys and girls play differently, communicate differently, make decisions differently, and have different needs. Recognizing these differences and working with them, according to Stanton, is the key to a healthy family.

I highly recommend Secure Daughters, Confident Sons for parents, teachers, pastors, and anyone who works with kids and loves them.  This book could also be used effectively in marriage counseling, helping a husband and wife to better understand each other. I look forward to reading more of Glenn Stanton.

(Multnomah Waterbrook gave me a free copy of this book to review.)

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How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

(Stuart Townend)

 This is what makes Good Friday good – the death of Jesus Christ for God, His church, and for me.

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Tuesday Links

Here are three articles I’ve come across that may be of some help in your walk with Christ, and one which will cause some thinking and discussion. No, none of these links have anything to do with golf.

Our children should learn how to war with the world, not find their way in it. Read about it here.

We need to remind ourselves to rejoice. Read about it here.

Find out what happened during Holy Week here. Follow it for the entire week.

Enjoy!

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I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 2:11-18 this morning. Here is my sermon in the space of one sentence: God has placed believing Jews and Gentiles into one body – the church – through Jesus Christ.

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My appreciation for the Apostle’s Creed has grown immensely over the years. It’s brief and expansive, though not exhaustive. It’s also a clear statement of what we believe as Christians. Here are five good books on the Creed.

  1. I Believe: Exploring the Apostle’s Creed by Alister McGrath.
  2. Basic Training by R.C. Sproul
  3. The Creed by Michael Bauman
  4. Affirming the Apostle’s Creed by J.I. Packer
  5. Credo: Believing in Something to Die For by Ray Pritchard

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In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, the apostle Paul writes, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 

Everything Paul and his colleagues experienced – their afflictions and burdens  – were ordained and used by God for the purpose of driving them to depend fully upon God rather than their own resources. The Lord will use whatever it takes to knock out our props – because He loves us, not because He doesn’t.

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The Conveyor Belt

Life is a conveyor belt that cannot be paused, stopped, or reversed. We get older with each passing day, but do we get more mature? Hebrews 6:1 tells us to “press on to maturity” – maturity in our walk with the Lord, that is. Chronological age does not always correspond to spiritual maturity, even though it should. There are few things more disappointing than an older saint who is still in diapers spiritually. Few things are more encouraging than a young saint who is mature and wise beyond their years.

The conveyor belt that is life relentlessly keeps moving, requiring nothing on our part except our continued existence. Maturity and spiritual growth, on the other hand, takes blood, sweat, toil, and tears. Are we up for it?

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There are times when a word or phrase will almost literally “jump off the page” as you read the Bible. It happened to me recently as I read Matthew 6, and from it came a very timely reminder on the subject of prayer.

As He was giving instruction on prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ said in verse 10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I’ve read that chapter, and the entire Sermon on the Mount many times, but this time the words – four of them – that “came off the page” were “your will be done.”

We are asking that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven when we pray this prayer. His will, not our will. We can, and should, pray about everything (see Philippians 4:6-7). But when we do, it must always be with the understanding that we’re asking that God would do what He wants, and not what we want.

“Your will be done” may have “jumped out at me” because my requests lately have been characterized by an attitude of “my will be done.” In other words, “God, here’s my list. Now do it.” Prayer is not trying to talk the Lord into doing what we want Him to do, it’s aligning our will with His and being satisfied with and submitted to that holy, perfect, righteous, just, good, sovereign will.

Your will, not mine!

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