Archive for November, 2013

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hands of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).

I’m not a king, but the truth expressed by Solomon under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit applies to me, too. My heart is like a channel of water in God’s hands – He turns it wherever He wishes. I’m thankful that thirty-three years ago, the Lord changed my mind, affections, and will from someone who could easily be described as an ingrate to one who is deeply gratefully and thankful to Him for each and every blessing He’s given. I’m most grateful for the Lord Jesus Christ – He who took my sin, including my ungratefulness, upon Himself to satisfy God’s just wrath against it, and gave me His perfect righteousness in return. Do I fall back into ingratitude from time to time? Yes. But the Lord is still changing my heart and channeling those waters in directions that are for His glory and my good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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How does a Church grow?

How does a church grow? Great programs? Massive outreach? Visible service in the community? The best music in town? The best preacher in town?

Guy Waters gives his answer in an article called “Preaching Like Peter?” According to Waters, the church grows through the preaching of God’s Word. That may be a surprising answer to some, but give it a read and see what you think. The article can be read here.

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Duane Decker of China Outreach Ministries preach on the subject of hospitality from Romans 12:9-16. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Hospitality is our responsibility as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, but it must be pursued.

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R.C. Sproul, Jr. was asked a great question. His answer ended up in the series of blog posts called Ask R.C. Here’s the great question: “R.C. If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself when you were 18”? Read it and think about what you’d tell yourself.

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What is worship?

The question might seem simple, but sometimes our answer isn’t comprehensive enough. Is it music alone or something more? I have to admit that on more than one occasion I’ve said something like “The pastoral prayer will be after worship,” or “I’ll preach after worship.” I’ve heard people say, “How was the worship?” and the answer usually had to do with nothing but the music.

Worship is “focusing on and responding to God” (Don Whitney’s definition). A similar way to put it would be “a faithful response to God’s gracious revelation.” The format of worship is the same throughout all of Scripture: God makes Himself known and we respond to Him (see Isaiah 6:1-8 for example)

It should be clear, then, that worship is more than music. Of course it involves music, but that’s not all it is. Responding to God – who He is and what He’s done – is to worship Him. Therefore, we worship God when we gather together as one body to pray, give of our finances, confess our sins, partake of Communion, hear God’s Word read and preached, pledge ourselves to follow Him, and yes, sing praises to His name.

Worship has both a narrow and broad aspect. Narrowly considered, worship is what the church does whenever it gathers together. Broadly considered, worship could apply to just about everything we do in life because it’s a response to God. We worship when we sing and when we forgive someone.Both of them are faithful responses to a gracious God whom we have focused on.

Oh come, let us worship and bodown; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand” (Psalm 95:6-7).

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Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen. 1:26-27).

What is “the image and likeness of God”? The best definition I’ve come across is one I learned in seminary. Man being created in the image and likeness of God means that we have the amazing ability and awesome responsibility of making visible the invisible attributes and character of God.

As example of making God visible is seen in the booklet “Leadership: How to Guide Others with Integrity” by Steve Viars. In it, he provides eight questions designed to diagnose our leadership. Even though Viars writes about leadership, his questions parallel what it means to make God visible as His image-bearer.

Do people understand more of God’s mercy because of the way I respond to their mistakes?

Do people understand more of God’s holiness because of my high ethical standards?

Do people understand more of God’s patience because of the time I give them to grow and develop?

Do people understand more of God’s truthfulness because of the way I communicate honestly?

Do people understand more of God’s faithfulness because they see me keep my promises?

Do people understand more of God’s kindness because of the tone of my voice?

Do people understand more of God’s love because I go out of my way to help and serve them as I lead?

Do people understand more of God’s grace because I avoid being harsh and unreasonably demanding?

If we do those things, we’ll make God visible to the world and put Him on display – an amazing ability and awesome responsibility!

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I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 1:18-19 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: We are to live in godly fear because we have been redeemed at great cost by our Lord Jesus Christ!

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Sermon in a Sentence

I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 1:17 this morning (for a second week). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Fearing God involves both terror as well as awe, reverence, and wonder – may we do it for His glory and our good.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 1:17. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Since God is our Father and our judge, we should live in godly fear.

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