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weary

Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing (Judges 8:4).

The Midianites had oppressed Israel for seven years. In response to the cries and prayers of His people, God raised up Gideon as a judge and deliverer. After paring down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to a mere 300, God told him to pursue the Midianites and promised him victory.

That doesn’t mean it was easy, however. Gideon and his men, the Scripture says, were “weary yet pursuing” the Midianites. In the English Standard Version, weary is translated as “exhausted.”

We all get tired. We all become weary, even to the point of exhaustion. And the truth of the matter is that we can become weary, even if we’re doing precisely what God has commanded us to do – when we’re obedient to His will. Obedience doesn’t make us immune to weariness and exhaustion. That was true for Gideon and his men and it’s true for us. The weariness could be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual (or any combination), but it happens and it’s real.

Gideon and his 300 men were weary, but they kept going – they pressed on and pursued by the power of the Holy Spirit and ultimately gained the promised victory.

In Isaiah 40:28-31, we have God’s promise and a good dose of hope for the weary:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

When you’re weary, continue to pursue in the power of God’s Spirit. In the words of J.I. Packer, “Trust God and get going.”

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Darren Carlson, founder of President of Teaching Leaders International, preach on 3 John 1-8. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: A faithful church receives and sends missionaries for the glory of God.

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covenant

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Doug Lundin, one of the elders, preach on “Covenanting Together” from 2 Kings 23:1-3, which included the elder’s and pastor’s commitment to us. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The covenant was a renewal of the heart, the Word, leadership, holiness, and communion with one another.

 

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Sermon in a Sentence

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on the Elder Position Paper on Eldership (“What Are Elders and Why Do We Have Them?”). Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Elders are a team of men in a local church who shepherd, teach, and pray for the congregation with a servant’s heart and attitude.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching my final sermon as Pastor of Cross Creek Bible Church on Romans 1:16-17. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: We are not ashamed of the gospel – believe it, preach it, and live out it’s consequences for God’s glory and our good!

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September 3rd, 2017 will be my last day as Pastor of Cross Creek Bible Church. I announced it to the church about a month ago, but thought I’d give it a slightly wider audience here.

I have a strong sense that God is calling me into a ministry that focuses more on teaching and training. We don’t know what God has in store for us or where we’ll be next. We do know, without a doubt, that we can trust God to guide and provide for us.  I’m looking at schools, organizations, or staff positions in churches which would give me the ability and opportunity to teach and train.

It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as pastor at Cross Creek. Karen and I have nothing but love and affection for the congregation and leadership of the church. The Lord has used them to sharpen, encourage, challenge, and strengthen us, for which we’re incredibly grateful. We’re sad and, at the same time, excited about what God has for us in the next chapter of our lives.

If you would, please pray for Cross Creek during the transition to a new pastor. And if you would, please for Karen and me – that God would guide and provide, and that we wouldn’t be anxious or fearful. Thank you!

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Law-Gospel2

If you don’t understand how sinful you are, you’ll never understand how gracious and merciful God is.

Greg Koukl, founder of Stand To Reason, asks us to participate in a thought-experiment to prove the point.

Have you read the Ten Commandments recently? Take a quick personal moral inventory by asking yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever given allegiance to anything else over God in your life?
  • Have you ever used anything as an object of worship or veneration?
  • Have you ever used God’s name in a vain or vulgar fashion?
  • Have you worshipped God on a consistent basis?
  • Have you disobeyed or dishonored your parents even once?
  • Have you murdered anyone, or even had harsh thoughts about someone (see Matt. 5:22)?
  • Have you had sex with someone other than your spouse, or even thought about it (see Matt. 5:28)?
  • Have you taken something that wasn’t yours?
  • Have you lied?
  • Have you hungered after something that didn’t belong to you?

Sound tough? It is. This is God’s Law. These are God’s requirements. Even in grammar school, 60% is a flunking grade, yet who among us has not violated each of these commandments many times, at least in spirit?

Reducing the Ten Commandments to only two doesn’t help, by the way. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). Yet even the best of us violate these “minimal” requirements daily.

In your conversations, use both the Law and the Gospel. God’s Law is the mirror that shows us our need for the Savior. In Paul’s words, each of us is “shut up under sin” (Gal. 3:22). Our mouths have been closed, and we all have become accountable to God (Rom. 3:19). Saved by our own goodness? The Law gives us no hope other than Jesus’ righteousness.

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