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Archive for September, 2014

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 1:14a (“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”). Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: Jesus Christ – the eternal Creator God – took on humanity, becoming a man, and lived among us, for His glory and our good.

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prayer

Election season has begun in earnest. No special powers of discernment are required to come to that conclusion–the sheer multitude of TV and radio commercials make it clear. It’s a time of becoming familiar with candidates and issues, but it’s also a time of prayer.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his young colleague in ministry, saying, “First of all, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

The command given is to pray for our leaders, whoever they may be. The question is why–why should we do that?

The first answer is also the most obvious. We’re to pray for our leaders because God commands us to do so. No reason is better or more binding–we do it for the simple reason that our Lord commands it. There are no loopholes to be found, no matter how hard we may look for one. The Bible nowhere says we should pray for only those leaders we like or agree with. On the contrary, we’re to pray for all of them. This is no option (if I feel like it, when I get around to it); it’s a command without an expiration date.

There is at least one other reason to be considered. We should pray for our leaders because God can, and does, change the heart of a leader. Cyrus is but one example of many: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD from the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, the LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah'” (Ezra 1:1-2).

God “stirred up the spirit” of the king, so that he approved of and even funded the rebuilding of the Temple (the central place of worship in Israel). Whether or not Cyrus would have done this anyway, but simply needed a push in the right direction by God, or it wasn’t in his plans at all and God put it there, we’ll never know. We do know, though, that God changed his heart in such a way that he did what He wanted him to do.

Now, from Paul and Timothy and Cyrus and Ezra to you and me: We should pray for our leaders, not only because God commands it, but also because through it, God changes hearts. We must pray for our leaders, whether they’re elected or appointed, for the simple fact that our Lord may change their hearts in response to our humble, sincere requests, which will bring glory to God and make His kingdom visible.

P.S. Of late, I haven’t done very well at this. By God’s grace, I will, especially during election season.

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Words mean things. Therefore, we should them well and wisely. “Brokenness” is the word-du-jour in the church, it seems. But what does it mean? Should we think about what it means and implies before we use it? I think so.

So does Bob Kellemen in his article called “4 Reflections: Are We Using the Word ‘Brokenness’ Biblically?” You can read it here. He makes some very good points.

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Nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory.

(A.W. Pink)

 

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 1:6-13. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus, the true Light, was announced by John the Baptist, rejected by the world and the Jews, but received by individual believers who have been regenerated by God in His grace.

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Politics and the Church: So, it turns out that “millennials” and others have not left the church because of right-wing politics. On a side note, isn’t it interesting that they never mention “millennials” or others leaving the church over left-wing politics-evidently that’s OK according to some. You can read it here.

Evangelicals and the Culture: Should the evangelical church abandon the public square? Should we retreat? Andrew Walker weighs in here.

Rotherham and Rape: You probably haven’t heard much about this, but it should cause you be angry, then drop to your knees in prayer. Read it from Ross Douthat here.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 1:1-5. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ is to be worshiped because He is eternal, distinct from the Father yet one with Him, God, Creator of all things, and the source of all spiritual life and light.

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