Archive for November, 2017


This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga of Southwest Hills Baptist Church preach on John 17:20-26. What follows is a summary of his sermon in the space of one sentence: What will you and I do this week to further the unity among His people that Jesus prayed for?


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The Old 100th on Thanksgiving


Psalm 100

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

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As young Christians, we learned to pray mostly by listening to other believers pray. We learn to speak in the same way – by imitation.

We can also learn to pray, and learn some of the most important principles of prayer, as we read God’s Word. Listen to the apostle Paul’s words to the Christians in Philippi:  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (1:3-5).

Every time he thought of the Philippian Christians, he was full of joy and thanked God. But what can we learn about prayer from these verses?

First, he prayed frequently“All my remembrance of you” and “in my every prayer for you all” make it clear that Paul prayed for them regularly – it wasn’t simply a one-time thing.

Second, he prayed comprehensively. Paul was careful in his prayers to mention everyone in the congregation, hence the phrase “for you all.” He wasn’t satisfied with a blanket prayer (“God, bless all of the Philippian believers”), or only pray for a few. No, he prayed for all of them.

Third, he prayed gratefully. Notice that he began by saying, “I thank my God.” Paul’s continuous prayer for them wasn’t grudging, it was grateful. He was genuinely thankful to God for them and how supportive they had been of him in his ministry to them and others.

Listen to the apostle Paul and learn from him. May our prayer increasingly be frequent, comprehensive, and grateful!

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Steinberg New Yorker

Politicians have a way of disrespecting much of the American voting public. They sometimes refer to everything outside of the New York-Washington, D.C.-Boston-Los Angeles bubble as “flyover country.” In other words, the parts of the country you fly over when you’re going to the “important” places. They don’t realize what they’re missing.

As bad as that is, those of us who love God’s Word can do the same thing by the way we treat books of the Bible. If we’re not paying attention, we can look at the very beginning of a number of books – the greeting – as flyover country. We skip it in order to get to “the good stuff.” If we do that, though, we miss out on some very important truths.

Philippians 1:1-2 should not be ignored or rushed over in our haste. Paul writes, “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Much could be written about these two verses, but I’ll limit myself to a thought from verse 1. Paul says that as Christians, we are simultaneously “in Christ Jesus” and “in Philippi.” 

Through faith in Christ alone for our salvation, we are united with Christ. We are in Him and He is in us. By God’s grace and mercy, we’ve been brought into a living and legal relationship with Jesus and we share in the redemption He accomplished and all of His blessings. Union with Christ is the basis from which our election, calling, regeneration, repentance, faith, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification take place. We are “tied” to Christ in such a way that we’ll never be untied.

At the same time, we are in the world – “in Philippi,” so to speak. God didn’t remove us from this world the moment we repented and believed the gospel, did He? If He did, you wouldn’t be reading this and I wouldn’t be writing it, either! We’re “in Christ,” but we’re not yet in heaven. God has given us a job to do as long as we’re living in this world – to glorify Him and to enjoy Him forever (1 Cor. 10:31 and Question and Answer #1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism). We’ve been called to make Him visible, put Him on display, and reflect Him wherever He’s placed us. He has set us apart (the meaning of “saint”) to serve Him.

The Lord determines who we are (united with Christ), where we live (our particular place in this world), and what we’re supposed to do (glorify Him in all things). It was true for the Christians in Philippi and it’s true for us, too.

There is no “flyover country.” If only we, and the politicians, would realize it. We don’t know what we’re missing!

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga of Southwest Hills Baptist Church preach on John 17:13-19. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Jesus prayed that we – His people – would be safe, sanctified, and sent by His Word.

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Well-Driven Nails


“The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11)

Another installment of some of the best articles and ideas I’ve come across in the past little while.

The idea of “finding Christ in every passage” has swept through the ranks of evangelical preachers in the last decade like wildfire. I understand the attraction based on the sheer number of sermons I’ve heard (and preached) that are more moralistic than anything else (“Do this.” “Don’t do that.”), with very little gospel in them. However, is this method of interpretation actually biblical? Does it accurately handle the Word of truth? Eric Davis has written a two-part article that gives the positives and negatives of the approach. Here’s part one.  Here’s part two. Read them both.

Brett McCracken sheds some light on “Calvinist”, a movie made by Les Lanphere. It explains the recent popularity of Calvinism (a good thing in my opinion).

A teacher in the UK is facing disciplinary action for “misgendering” a student, according to the BBC. If you think it can’t, or won’t, happen here, you’re mistaken. We live in an upside down world.

A new movie called On Wings of Eagles picks up the Eric Liddell story where Chariots of Fire left off. Laura Finch wites this short review in WORLD magazine.

“10 Things to Pray Before Church” is really, really good. We all ought to read it and do it.


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Apologetics is the art and science of defending the faith – defending the truth of Christianity – Voddie Baucham shows how that can be done in the process of preaching and teaching God’s Word in his book Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word. Part of Baucham’s preaching style is to anticipate the objections of skeptics (and other non-believers), and then answer them using the text of Scripture being explained. In addition to explaining how the faith can be defended, he also demonstrates by providing a transcript of one of his sermons.

Expository Apologetics is a layman’s introduction to presuppositional apologetics, which is connected frequently with Cornelius Van Til in the early 20th century. Baucham makes the concepts of the system understandable and applicable. His treatment of Romans 1 – what everyone knows and is answerable for – is excellent.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are commanded to “set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you, with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Expository Apologetics by Voddie Baucham will help you obey that command. Tolls lege! Take up and read!


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