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Archive for November, 2016

rodin-thinker

“God is not easily understood by His creation, and His actions and purpose are far above our finite ability to comprehend.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 says,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

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thankful

I had the privilege of preaching on the subject of thankfulness this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: We have many reasons to be thankful, and have the obligation to make our gratitude to God and other people.

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Katherine Timpf, of National Review, reports that Bloomington, Indiana  is changing the name of Columbus Day and Good Friday in order to “better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace.” You can read the entire article here, but these two paragraphs sum it up well:

As cute as all of that sounds, I really have a hard time seeing how renaming Good Friday in particular amounts to valuing “diversity” or “cultural sensitivity.” In fact, it almost seems like the opposite. Good Friday is an important holiday in the Christian churches, and “Good Friday” is what those churches have chosen to call it. What’s the issue? After all, it’s not like it’s called “All People Except Christians Are Bad Friday.” Suggesting that the name of a Holy Day is some kind of dirty phrase that needs changing is anything but sensitive, and a true celebration of diversity would be allowing a religion to keep the words it uses to describe its own celebrations — even if that religion is different from yours.

Calling Good Friday “Good Friday” isn’t forcing anyone to change his or her beliefs. It’s not offensive or controversial; it’s just calling something what it’s called. The fact is, people have the Friday before Easter off because it is a religious holiday for Christians — and no matter what you name it in city memos, that will still be true. Calling Good Friday “Spring Holiday” isn’t being sensitive . . . it’s being inaccurate.

And if you don’t celebrate it, then so what? You’re still getting paid time off on a Friday – and believe it or not, there are much tougher things out there that you could have to deal with.

Melissa Kruger has some wise words for women (which also apply to men) in her article “Sisters, Jesus Is Not Your Cheerleader.”

Kevin DeYoung makes the case for Christian magnanimity here, using the recent Mike Pence experience at the Broadway play called “Hamilton.”

John Tierney, from City Journal, explains who’s really at war with science. Here’s a spoiler: it isn’t the Right. “The Real War on Science” can be read here. It’s a long read, but worth it.

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tetelestai_john_19_30_reclaimed_barnwood_art_white_wash_22x11_grande

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 19:17-30. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: By His death on the cross, Jesus completed the work of redemption for His people once for all – the debt has been paid in full!

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rodin-thinker

One of God’s attributes is that He is incomprehensible. In 25 words or less, here’s what that means: God has made Himself known to us, but we cannot know Him exhaustively or completely because of our finiteness as His creatures.

Psalm 145:1-3 says,

I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.

Job 11:7 says,

“Can you discover the depths of God?
Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?”

Isaiah 40:18 says,

To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare with Him?

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behold-the-man-antonio_ciseri-e1330966503449

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 19:8-16. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and every person and nation will be judged by Him and has an obligation to submit to Him.

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images

There’s an interesting episode in the life and ministry of Jesus that’s recorded in Mark 14:3-9. While Jesus and His disciples were at the home of Simon the leper eating a meal, a woman took an extremely expensive vial of perfume, broke it, and poured it over Jesus’ head.

The response was immediate and strong: “But some were indignantly remarking to one another, ‘Why has this perfume been wasted?'”(v. 4). They thought the perfume could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. Verse 5 says, “they were scolding her.”

What this unnamed woman did was undoubtedly an act of worship. She loved Jesus and was responding to His grace and mercy. So was her act a waste? Is worship of God a waste?

The answer to that question is yes and no.

Let me explain. Worship IS a waste if it doesn’t come from the heart, if it involves simply “going through the motions” with no real thought given to what you’re doing. Even a beautiful act of devotion and worship is wasted if it isn’t done in faith. Conversely, worship is NEVER a waste if comes from the heart, and if there is real meaning and understanding at the core of it. Any act, no matter how large or small, is pleasing to God when it’s done in faith.

Therefore, no amount of money given to God and His work is ever wasted if it’s given from the heart. No tear is ever wasted in the true worship of God. No time is ever wasted if it’s given from the heart. No life is ever wasted if it’s given to the service of God and others as a honest gift to Him. No prayer offered to God in faith is ever wasted or of no value. No service or ministry to others is ever wasted if it’s done to please God. God is faithful and gracious to use and bless whatever we give Him or do for Him in faith.

The sacrificial gift of the woman was not a waste – it was worship, and true, genuine worship is never wasted!

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2016_presidential_election_ballot

I posted this on Facebook late last night regarding the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States:

I can’t say I wasn’t surprised that Donald Trump won the election, but I’m glad he did. He was my seventeenth choice of the seventeen Republicans, but once he was the official nominee, I supported him. I didn’t, and don’t, defend everything he’s ever done or said – I wouldn’t do that with any fallen and sinful human being. But at this point in our nation’s history, he’s the flawed vessel needed to pump the brakes on the runaway Leftism that is seriously damaging our nation. I hope he does it. He has my prayers, as does Mike Pence. As a nation, we have a lot of problems to work on, and a lot of sins for which to repent. Maybe, just maybe, God has given us mercy in the form of time to do just that. Although the Presidential campaign seemed to last forever, the real work has just begun. I’m especially thankful that, by God’s providence, we live in a country that has non-violent transfers of power.

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editing1

In relation to Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate in John 19:1-16, J.C. Ryle wrote:

We see the Savior of mankind scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, smitten, rejected by His own people, unjustly condemned by a judge who saw no fault in Him, and finally delivered up to a most painful death. Yet this was He who was the eternal Son of God, whom the Father’s countless angels delighted to honor. This was He who came onto the world to save sinners, and after living a blameless life for thirty years, spent the last three years of His life on earth in going about doing good, and preaching the Gospel. Surely the sun never shone on a more wondrous sight since the day of its creation.

Let us admire that love of Christ which Paul declares, “passes knowledge,” and let us see an endless depth of meaning in the expression. There is no earthly love with which it can be compared, and no standard by which to measure it. It is a love that stands alone. Never let us forget when we ponder this tale of suffering, that Jesus suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust, that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, and that with His stripes we are healed.

Let us diligently follow the example of His patience in all the trials and afflictions of life, and specially in those which may be brought upon us by religion. When He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously. Let us arm ourselves with the same mind. Let us consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners without a murmur, and strive to glorify Him by suffering well, no less than by doing well.

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john-19-5

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 19:1-7. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Will you mock, misunderstand, or magnify Jesus as God?

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