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Archive for the ‘my life’ Category

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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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Merry Christmas!

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The birth of Jesus Christ – the incarnation of God Himself – is the turning point of history. He’s what Christmas is all about. Karen and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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As I sat in the chair in the examination room of the ophthalmologist’s office, I received a diagnosis that made official what I already knew – “You have a cataract, and it needs to be removed.”

In the past year, it’s become more and more “clear” that there was a fog-like substance, or “glaze,” growing on the lens of my eye. Trying to see out of that eye was like looking through a fogged-up window that I couldn’t wipe off. I couldn’t focus on anything when I looked out of that eye – nothing was clear.

It wasn’t long after that I realized cataracts have a spiritual application, too. After he recounted the “Hall of Faith” in chapter 11, the writer of Hebrews exhorts Christians, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). We can only fix our eyes on Jesus if we have clear vision, and not cloudy vision. If we can’t “see” Jesus, and keep our focus on Him, we won’t be able to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” or “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” 

We can develop spiritual cataracts in quite a few ways, but ultimately they come from the same source – neglect of the spiritual disciplines God has given us that we might grow and mature in Him. When we stop reading and studying God’s Word; when the only time we pray  is to get a good parking spot; when we neglect fellowship and attendance at church; when we don’t truly worship from the heart; when we aren’t good stewards of the gifts God gives us; when we don’t evangelize; when we stop serving and ministering to others; when we see obedience to the Lord as an option and not an obligation; and when we stop learning, we can be sure cataracts will develop that will cloud our vision  of the author and perfecter of faith, Jesus Christ. They may come quickly or slowly, but the cataracts will certainly develop.

Cataracts, at least of the spiritual nature, can be avoided, therefore, by the regular and consistent practice of all of the spiritual disciplines. Only then will we be able to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus with vision that is clear and bright.

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At some point this morning, my phone froze (not in terms of temperature, but in terms of activity). It wouldn’t do anything. No amount of pushing buttons or holding down buttons did anything to fix the problem – neither did plugging it in to to recharge it.

I realized that a solution was beyond my skill level, so I went to the phone store. The salesman explained what had happened and restarted the phone. After that, he taught me how to turn off programs and apps that were running (and using a lot of battery power) that I didn’t know were running. I texted Karen, my wife, and told her I learned something about our phones that I’d have to teach her.

The whole sequence of events got me thinking: isn’t that what we should be be doing with God’s Word? Yes, it is! 2nd Timothy 2:2 says, “The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” You and I have the responsibility of passing on what we’ve been taught to others, who will do the same thing. Notice that there are four generations mentioned in that verse by the apostle Paul.

If I’m excited about sharing what I’ve learned about my phone, shouldn’t I be infinitely more excited about sharing what I’ve learned from the Word of God? Of course I should! Discipleship is all about entrusting what we’ve learned to faithful men and women who will do the same thing. That’s how the church grows and spreads like leaven throughout the entire world. A frozen phone was a good reminder of that.

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“Faith is the refusal to panic” according to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones…For my money, minor league baseball may be the best value going in terms of watching sports in person. You’re close to the action and may get to see a future major-leaguer. Ron Tonkin Field is a beautiful ballpark to boot. If you want to take that as an advertisement for the Hillsboro Hops, fell free…”Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange” (Kevin DeYoung)…If you’re not listening to James White’s podcast “The Dividing Line,” you need to start. He demonstrates critical thinking and doctrinal clarity on every single episode…Will any of you be watching the Olympics? What sports or athletes?

So the United States government paid $400 million ransom to Iran for the return of hostages? No matter what the President or his mouthpieces (in both his administration and in the media) say, this was a ransom, not a “coincidence.” When I go to the coffee shop and give them a certain amount of money, they give me a sugar-free hazelnut latte – it’s not a coincidence. Sending the money, made up of Swiss Francs and Euros (cash in other words), on an unmarked plane to Tehran, at which point a plane carrying the hostages took off for the United States, certainly makes it look like a ransom. Paying ransom for hostages is unethical, immoral, and foolish. Does anyone think the Iranians won’t take more hostages now that they know they can demand, and receive, a hefty ransom? I don’t. I’m not that naive and I believe in the total depravity of man.

The incomparable Al Mohler os studies: “Remember that very clearly: ‘studies show.’ Studies show what studies show studying other studies that will be studied in the future in order to study what the studies mean. But it’s interesting: the studies always turn out to mean what the latest studier of the studies wants it to mean.” (From The Briefing)…In my opinion, if a study comes to a conclusion that goes against common sense, it’s wrong.

When taxes are raised on corporations, who ultimately pays the bill? The CEO doesn’t – they don’t take the money out of his or her salary. There’s no shoebox full of cash in the safe labeled “Money for  Corporate Taxes.” Increased taxes are passed on to the consumer – you and me  – in the form of higher prices for goods and services. If a 35 percent tax was placed on bananas, the price of bananas would rise at least 35 percent – simple economics. Some on the left of the political spectrum seem to think corporations have trees growing money or are ATM’s they can make withdrawals from whenever they feel like it.

Remember those who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ (Heb. 13:5). Pray for them and for their persecutors (Luke 6:27-28).

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Both Portland and Seattle lost icons in the last few days.

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Tom Peterson owned a furniture, appliance, audio and video store in Portland for decades. He was probably most known for his TV commercials (most of them played during late night hours and during Portland Wrestling, where I remember them). If you grew up watching him, you’ll never forget the phrase “Free is a very good price,” or remembering him banging on the camera and shouting, “Wake up! Wake up!” What I remember most about Tom was something I heard him say in an interview: because he owned a business, he said that he had an obligation to consider the well-being of his employees when he made decisions (they had bills to pay and families to feed, too), instead of simply making money. Tom, and his attitude will be missed.

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J.P. Patches (Chris Wedes) was the clown on a daily TV show that aired on KIRO-TV in Seattle for over thirty years. If we hadn’t lived in Longview, Washington for three years, we never would have discovered him (Longview received both Portland and Seattle television stations on cable). As the mayor of the city dump, he was fantastic. Characters like Esmerelda, the Second Meanest Man in the World, and the Ooga Shugga Singers, and the ICU2 TV set all made his show unforgettable. Mostly, I remember the silliness and fun with which he conducted himself and his show. He was funny but never mean or insulting (which we could learn a lot from). J.P. and his attitude will be missed, too.

 

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Month in Review

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In March…

officiated my Dad’s memorial service. It was a great honor and privilege. We’re thankful for all who came and extended their sympathy and support in so many different ways.

Stacey, Karen, Carla, and I have continued to deal with all of the details surrounding Dad’s death. A big “thank you,” too, to Uncle Jerry and Aunt Janet!

I was greatly blessed by the ministry of Zach Eswine at the Spurgeon Fellowship, which is sponsored by Western Seminary.

read Parables by John MacArthur, a book that explains why Jesus taught in parables and gives an explanation of a number of them. This is what we’ve come to expect from MacArthur: solid exegesis and theological soundness. Get it and read it.

We saw the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks at Moda Center. Thank you John and Stacey for the great seats!

We reflected on the death of Jesus Christ in an excellent Good Friday Service at Cross Creek Bible Church.

We celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Cross Creek Bible Church on Easter Sunday. He is risen. He is risen indeed!

We continued to study A.W. Pink’s book The Attributes of God on Tuesday nights.

continued to preach through the Gospel of John during the morning worship service at Cross Creek Bible Church – a privilege and an honor.

 

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