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Category Archives: gospel

Sanctification Summarized

I so love to post quotes from saints who long ago passed from this world to sit at the feet of Jesus. One of my favorite quotes is from John Newton. Newton was a sailor, and later an Anglican clergyman. His most famous contribution to our  world was the hymn “Amazing Grace”. Newton also penned one of my favorite quotes that sums up the doctrine of sanctification to a tee. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit does in us after Christ has done the work of justification by imputing His righteousness on us and taking our sin and God’s wrath on Himself. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us and we grow more and more in the knowledge of God. Here is the quote:

I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

 
 

The Process of Illumination

First of all, I was not looking to make another move in my working career. I liked what I was doing, and where I was in my career. I had the opportunity to work from home part-time. I was going to be learning about more technologies, including Java. But God had other plans for me.

This is a post I’ve been been meaning to write for almost a month. For anyone who follows my posts here or on Facebook or Twitter will have seen me allude to my new employment. My new employment is with a lighting distributor in Lincoln Nebraska. I am very pleased to be with them and I look forward, Lord willing, to many years of service with them. Here is my story.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Discovering my variable to the eternal equation of the gospel

Happy New Year everyone!! It is my prayer that the gospel impacts your life and the lives of your friends and family this  year. Now for the equation mentioned in the title.

Late last year I began reading the Tullian Tchividjian book “Jesus + Nothing = Everything“. I am almost done with it, and I can tell you, without question, it is ranks among the top books that have greatly impacted my life. Pastor Tullian begins by taking the equation and working it backward. By the time you get to the “Nothing” part of the equation Tullian has asked the reader twice to consider what that variable “Nothing” is for you. Here is a quote from the book:

So let me ask you once more, as you get quiet and still: Deep within you, where is that restlessness, that agitation, that impatience, that anxiety? Why is it there? What is it you’re missing, and you’re trying to fill the gap? (Jesus + Nothing = Everything (p. 44). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition)

Taking the authors advice, I prayerfully considered the “Nothing”. According to Tullian, Jesus wants us to make the connection of the “Nothingness” with idolatry. What am I trying to add to this eternal equation?

After much prayerful consideration I believe God has lead me to the answer of my nothing variable. In my life I have put way to much focus on the acknowledgement from those friends and family members around me. It didn’t take me long to uncover the source of what consistently causes me restlessness, agitation, impatience, and anxiety. Desiring acknowledgement is definitely a human trait. Most of us wish to be acknowledged. It hurts when you put yourself out there by taking the initiative to vocalize, or author (blogging?) an opinion, statement, or truth. When you don’t receive the acknowledgement you have built some expectations over, it is painful. But, I believe, when it becomes like the things described by Pastor Tullian, especially to the extent of it becoming that variable to the equation like mine:

Jesus + Acknowledement from men = Everything

This is idolatry.

Idolatry is trying to build our identity on something besides God. An idol is anything that’s usurping the proper place of God in our lives. An idol is anything or anyone that you conclude, in your heart, you must have in order for your life to be meaningful, valuable, secure, exciting, or free. (Jesus + Nothing = Everything (p. 40). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition)

So as I continue to read this influential book with this eye opening revelation, I can read with with full knowledge of this sin in an effort with the Holy Spirit to take it head-on in the trenches. With the strength provided (Phil. 2:13) I will be able to knock this sin back for a 25 yard loss. (Sorry, it’s College Bowl Game Day) Lord willing it can get knocked out of the game completely.

More to come.

Soli Deo Gloria!!

 

Monergism Launches eBooks

If you are like me in searching for some great theology, church history, and Christian living books for your new text device like Kindle or iBooks? Then look no further. Monergism Books has just launched their eBooks eCommerce site.

Monergism Books has been providing great reformation resources for many years. They began as a website providing resources as a directory of theology including sermon text and audio. The have since expanded to an eCommerce site providing books, DVD’s, CD,s and software. Last year Monergism took the risky step of opening a brick and mortar business in Portland, Oregon. Monergism has been a wealth of resources over the years for folks like myself who are interested in learning about the reformed doctrine, church history, and gospel-centered theology. In closing I will post the about statement found on the web site.

Monergism Books is a Reformed Christian Internet bookseller with the goal of equipping Christians in the truth by making available the finest classic resources of historical orthodoxy. This is done in the hope that the church will embrace, and recover a Christ-centered gospel and the true Biblical doctrines of the historic faith.

 
 

Sermon Builder

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph. 4:11-14 ESV)

Building from my last post I wanted to just bring to attention a ministry that is focused on the equipping of the saints and doing what the apostle Paul is exhorting the Ephesian church to do. Specifically in church leadership.

Shepherd’s Fellowship is a ministry of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Ca. You may have heard of this church. If not you’ve no doubt heard of their senior pastor John MacArthur. Grace Community Church (GCC) and John MacArthur have been focused on equipping the saints for over 40 years. One of the tools they have been using, to the glory of God, is Shepherd’s Fellowship. Through this ministry you also have Shepherd’s Conference which is a church leadership conference GCC hosts every spring, and Resolved Conference, a cutting edge conference for college students and career singles. I can speak from experience for the Shepherd’s Conference. I’ve been twice. A few years ago Shepherd’s Fellowship began publishing a website designed for church pastors and leaders. The website is dedicated to providing resources for those who are called to this leadership responsibility. On the website you find the ministry tag-line:

The Shepherds’ Fellowship is an association of churches rallying around the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, the importance of expository preaching, and the centrality of a biblical philosophy of ministry.

The fellowship serves as both a resource and an encouragement for pastors and Christian leaders around the globe.

Just recently I noticed on the website under “Resources” a nice tool that provides preachers and teachers a step-by-step guide for putting together expository sermons1 . The tool is called “Sermon Builder“. It walks you through the five phases of sermon development. These phases are Introduction, Preparation, Precision, Production, and Presentation. If you are new to preparing sermons or would just like some guidance in doing so you can’t go wrong here. This ministry is dedicated and focused on encouraging church leaders to be Christ-centered and gospel-centered. To be the best God-ordained preachers and teachers you were called out for. The sermon builder would be a great resource for you.

1Expository sermons are sermons that expound on the particular meaning of a text or passage of scripture.

 

The Church’s Two Gospels

Now before I get some flack from my few readers let me explain the title. The title stems from the two major points in a recent sermon from Omaha Bible Church senior pastor Patrick Abendroth. The points made should also be the two main priorities of the church. The two points are related and sequential. You cannot have the one without the two. These two gospels are found in the book of Ephesians chapters 2 and 4, and these are the texts where the sermon was anchored. Let me try to explain further.

The Gospel of Salvation

The book of Ephesians addresses two gospels. The gospel of salvation and the gospel of sanctification. The gospel of salvation most assuredly comes first so it is handled first. This is the gospel many of us know about. This gospel tells us who we are or were before a holy and righteous God. As the apostle Paul explains in his letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV

Paul is addressing believers here. He is reminding them of who they once were. We were once condemned before a holy God for our rebellion towards him. Basically the walking dead. But then comes the gospel part or good news. Again, as mentioned in an earlier post, I love the “But God”.

Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV

This is the Gospel of Salvation. God did it all. Even though we were dead in our trespasses, and rebellious to God (Romans 1) He had mercy on us and raised us up through his son. God makes us alive. We are no longer the walking dead. We are walking alive in Christ. This salvation is all of God’s grace. Without it we remain the walking dead in our sins.

The Gospel of Sanctification

This gospel is also written about in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Our chapter 4. These verses encourage the believer to get out of their spiritual “pampers” and grow up. Paul encourage us to grow in Christian maturity. We are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling writes Paul:

Ephesians 4:1-16 ESV

We are urged to get out of our spiritual diapers. We used to walk being led around by our noses, following the course of the this world. Now, believers are to walk in our freedom found in Christ. Part of growing up is using humility, gentleness, and patience toward one another. Paul is teaching us how to walk and behave as one body in Christ. We are held together into one body with Christ as the head. We were all given gifts in order to build up the body of Christ. We are to be equipped, get along, get out of our spiritual diapers,  for when each part of the body is working properly it makes the whole body grow. Church growth means maturity, not numbers.

Lest we forget the primary focus of the church. We as believers are members of this church. We should never forget the condition we were in prior to God’s grace and merciful intervention. We should be striving daily to grow as into mature believers. These passages in Ephesians 2 and 4 emphasize this quite well.

What’s the Point Anyway?

 

What Women Really Want? A biblical perspective.

In the process of trying to catch up on the audio from one of my favorite call in talk shows, The Albert Mohler Program, business-woman-thinkingI came across a very interesting program from Friday September 25th this past week. In the program he commented and took calls about a recent article by columnist Maureen Dowd, a self-described feminist, in the New York Times. The title of the article was “Blue Is the New Black“. In the article Dowd points to some interesting data. She points to a survey by the General Social Survey, which has been tracking the mood of Americans since 1972, that indicates women have progressively been getting gloomier while men are getting happier. While the article doesn’t really come to any resolution for the funk women seem to be in, it does bring up some great observations. According to Dr. Mohler the article raises some questions that we should have an intellegent Christian conversation about. I agree.

One of Dowd’s observations is this:

When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

What this observation does is walk around a self-centeredness that is very common in our society today. Of course we know from a biblical world view the bottom factor is sinful pride, which has it’s affect on all of mankind. Aside from that, after three decades beyond the feminist revolution that promised women fulfillment, what have we really learned? What do women want, and why? What should make a woman happy or satisfied?

Dr. Mohler’s radio show is a call in show and many of his callers on this subject were women. Most of them commented about working towards a career early in their life and not finding real fulfillment until they quit the professional workplace and stayed at home to focus on the family and the home. One caller expressed when women are more driven toward a professional career they are going against what they were created for. I’m far from being an expert on women, but I have spoken with many who are godly and they all mention Proverbs 31 as a great biblical example of what a woman should want. Ultimately, as Dr. Mohler points out, the best response to the question is the gospel.

This is a great discussion that is of great importance and significance. I would encourage you to listen to the program, found at the link above and referenced at the link below.

What Women Want: A Response to Feminism