If you were asked to describe God, what words would you use? You might use several such words as omnipresent, omniscient, creator, sovereign, or holy. Based on the sermon series I just listened to by Mike Abendroth I would contend that the best way to describe God is Holy, Holy, Holy. The sermon series is based in Isaiah 6 and verses 1 – 13. Pastor Mike takes you through this passage as he lays out the experience of Isaiah the prophet as he encounters the holy God, and his response to the holy God. I would encourage you to read through this passage and imagine yourself in the shoes (or sandals) of Isaiah. He lived in an age where no one who truly knew God would ever think to approach Him in any way but prostrate and head bowed to the earth. The only way to approach the holy God of Israel was through sacrifice and with fear and trembling. I think we have (I know at least I had) forgotten how God was approached prior to the ultimate sacrifice of His Christ. I would also encourage you to listen to the four part series entitled “The Wonderful, Awful Motivation For Ministry”. Take the time and effort to listen to all parts. Pastor Mike does such a wonderful job of building the imagery of Isaiah’s encounter with God in the first two parts and then he takes two more parts to bring home the ultimate point. There was more accomplished at the cross of Calvary than just the redemption of God’s elect. See if you can see the awesomeness of the cross more clearly after this. The audio links to the series can be found at the link below. Soli Deo Gloria!
Category Archives: Ministry
John MacArthur has written a series of articles called “Why I Love the Church” at Pulpit Magazine online. The four part series (including today’s conclusion) focuses on Christ’s church as it is defined and spoken of in scripture. MacArthur provides some great insight for all of us to consider regarding the Church. From pointing out the careless approach to the Church that many in the evangelical world have taken, to what the Church’s role is on the earth and how this role differs from the idol created by the RCC. Christ is the chief cornerstone as mentioned in Ephesians 2:19-22. He is the head and must be the one we serve. The link is in the text above. It will take you to Part 1 of the series. Once you are on the page just find the additional links to the series in the upper right column of the Pulpit Magazine page.
As the title might indicate this is not a posting about the popular Beatles song. It is about the word love as it is used in the scriptures. Last night at OBC we were lead by Mike Holloway (a former elder to OBC) in a study about the word love, especially as it is used in Galatians 5:22. We are doing a 9 part series about the fruit of the Spirit on Sunday evenings throughout the summer.
Mike first established the definition of the word love as it is used in our culture today and as it is used in the New Testament. As you might suspect there are some contrasts. First of all the word love as we use it today is the Greek word eros, which is used to indicate romantic love. This form of the word love is not used in the New Testament. Another form of the word love is the Greek word philia. The city of Philadelphia derives its name from this form, meaning brotherly love. This form of the word love is rarely used in the New Testament. It is often used in the context of friendship. The last form of the word love used in the New Testament in the Greek word agape’. This form is used over 250 times in the New Testament. It is mostly used in the context of charity or love with grace. I would content this form of the word is impossible to do without the Spirit of God. This form of the word is used in Galatians 5:14.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Without the spirit of God within you this form of love in the verb since is impossible to do. You may love out of what you perceive as unselfish motives but without God it is not a work in the purist sense, as used in 1 Corinthians 13.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
As Mike summed it up by challenging us to do a self-examination of sorts. How are we as believers in Christ doing in this form of love, agape’ love which we are to walk in. Are we loving our neighbors as ourselves? Are we loving the ugly, the repugnant, the undesirable, the unworthy and unattractive? This same love we have experienced from Christ when we were ugly, undesirable, unworthy and enemies of God. He loved us enough to send His son to die on a cross for us. Below is the link to the audio of Mike Holloway’s sermon on the fruit of the spirit which is love.
This is something for us to consider daily. It is a challenge for me to be sure.
For the past few weeks there as been much in the way of information dealing with ecumenicalism. This is defined as the initiative to assert and preserve unity among diverse religious groups. (ht. to IrishCalvinist.com) I have blogged about it here, IrishCalvinist is currently doing a blog series on ecumenicalism, and our senior Pastor Patrick Abendroth did a sermon a few weeks ago called “Unity That God Forbids“. Today I want to write about the unity God encourages. This is based on a leadership session pastor Pat did a couple of years ago surrounding Philippians 1:27-30. The audio can be heard here: Striving Together For the Gospel. Philippians 1:27-30:
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Why do we strive together? What is the over-arching theme or reason for striving together? It is for the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ. This is the “big picture” as we strive together as believers in Christ.
Do you know the gospel? Is it your passion to know the gospel? This is the top priority for any believer of Jesus Christ. In order to be unified together for the gospel we need to know the gospel. The following are some phrases to keep in mind when thinking about how to approach the gospel with someone else. I think they can be very useful to prompt your mind with what to say when trying to articulate the gospel to someone.
- It’s all God’s choice
- Sin and the fall of man
- Substitutionary atonement
- Sufficiency of Christ
- To the believer (Romans 1:16)
- Repentance and faith (both are granted from God)
In verse 27 Paul tells the Philippians to strive together regardless if he is coming to see them or in his absence. In other words, do it even when no one is watching.
According to Paul, also in verse 27, we should be standing firm in one spirit, and with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. We should be bold and courageous in the faith of the gospel. We will undoubtedly face many opponents of the gospel because in verse 28 we are told not to be frightened in anything from the opponents of the gospel. We should be on the lookout for false teaching, the largest opponent of the gospel. False teaching is deceptive, most often subtle, and will come in many disguises. The biggest defense we have against a false gospel is to know the true gospel. We will know the true gospel by studying the scriptures, in doing so we will in turn recognize a false gospel.
There is a very important part to godly unity from the audio mentioned above and that is the way we as believers strive together. Do we get bogged down in trivial conflicts of personal differences, or tastes? The proverbial “splitting the church over color of carpet” comes to mind. Do we bicker over the style of worship music used in service? Do we run to others and tell of our conflict with another? In other words: Is the biggest hindrance to unity, how we treat one another? No doubt we will encounter conflicts with one another as we strive together for the gospel because we are still flesh and fallen beings. We should always keep in mind the over-arching theme for our striving: The furtherance and progress of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we keep this in mind all the other stuff will wane as trivial.
Just recently I visited a blog site that listed some of the most recent messages they had listened to. One of those most recent messages was by one of the pastors (Erik Raymond) of my home church, Omaha Bible Church. The message was about Ashael Nettleton and was part of a series of messages called “Giants of the Faith” done by the pastors, elders and some lay leaders of our church. The audio can be heard here. I was curious because I don’t remember hearing that particular message so I listened to it.
Asahel Nettleton was indeed a giant among many of the faith. He lived at a time in history that had seen a great awakening in spiritual revival based on the truth of the scriptures. Nettleton was an evangelist who had great impact in the churches he was invited to speak in. Those churches encountered many conversions. In fact it has been reported that he was responsible for leading over 30,000 folks to Christ in a time when the population of the entire nation was only about 9 million. The uniqueness of those conversions was the large number who remained faithful to Christ. Asahel Nettleton never pastored a church or authored a book, and yet he was certainly been regarded as one of the most successful preachers in history. Nettleton held to the doctrines of grace and the sovereignty of God in all things.
This past Saturday morning I attended the Men’s Breakfast at my local church Omaha Bible Church. It was a great time of fellowship and worship. We had a guest speaker, Byron Yawn who is a close friend of our senior pastor Pat Abendroth. Byron is the senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee where he has been pastoring for six years. Byron spoke to those in attendance about leadership. I will provide the outline he gave us Saturday. It was a great topic with a ton of information. The outline continues by clicking the link below. There is also a link to the audio of the session at the end.
Tonight I went to the Shepherds’ Conference web site to view the pictures they had posted from this year’s conference. Viewing them prompted to to remember some of my personal highlights from the conference. I will list them out as I try to remember them in order of each day.
Arriving Tuesday afternoon we all headed to the traditional OBC tour stop to eat lunch at the Fish Market Outlet in downtown LA. This is always an experience. We then headed to the Santa Monica Pier which for a few hours of shopping, walking, and Starbucks coffee, and seeing Mike Abendroth at the same spot we met him last year. I did get quite a bit of sun that afternoon. We then checked in to our hotel in Valencia (yes 24 fans, it’s still there) and went out to dinner. Wednesday morning we headed to the conference, verified our registrations, got our authentic fountain pen gifts and settled in on the Grace Community Church campus for a day of great preaching and seminars.
Highlights for Wednesday were John MacArthur preaching on premillennial theology in the morning and CJ Mahaney spoke on humility in the evening. Sitting with most of the guys at Starbucks and talking about the days events.
Highlights for Thursday were Q&A session with John MacArthur in the morning and Dr. Albert Mohler spoke on Greeting Card Theology from 1 Cor. 1 & 2. Getting our stack of free books and hanging with John Slack and eating In-N-Out burgers at lunch.
Friday was a busy highlight day. They include Mark Dever preaching on Daniel and our only hope is in God. Meeting Tim Challies from Challies dot com. Eating dinner with Hank, Bob, Steve, Dean, and Walter at the California Pizza Factory. Listening to Dr. John MacArthur speak on Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray. Listening to Dr. Mohler during the “soapbox” sessions. One of my favorite highlights was and hanging with the pastors and elders on Friday night drinking some brews and listening to Pat, Todd, and Bu talk about their days in seminary.
Saturday highlights were eating breakfast at Mimi’s, seeing Master’s College, driving down to West Coast Choppers, conversations with Chris along the way. More highlights were speaking of salvation with someone I met at the Crystal Cathedral, attending the evening service of the potentially self proclaimed “healthiest” church in America. The speaker presented an anger management seminar under the disguise of a sermon. More on that in a later post.
The highlights for Sunday our final day were, Dr. MacArthur and his sermon on Luke 18:35-43. This was Jesus’ last healing. The healing of blind Bartemaius. Flying home, conversations with Chris on the flight. Seeing my wife waiting for me at the airport gate. Sleeping in my bed.
What does your prayer life look like. If it looks anything like mine, it consists of prayer for your spouse, family members, local church leaders, leaders of our country, missionaries, sanctification, the unsaved, the return of Christ, and so on. I’m not saying I pray for these all of the time but when I pray these folks almost consistently come to mind. Are you in ministry together with other believers in your local church? If so, I would like to encourage you to pray for the ministry and for the individuals as well. Pray that God would be glorified in the ministry and bless it. Pray that God would watch over and care for those whom you serve with. That God would meet their needs no matter how trivial. I am writing this because I have not been praying for my fellow laborers in ministry. I was prompted to repent of this by an article I read at the Grace To You website. The article pointed out that Paul prayed for those in ministry with him at all the churches he had visited or helped to establish. The book of Philippians chapter 1 contains much about Paul and his thoughts and prayers with those who labor with him. I would encourage everyone to read this chapter and become very intimate with it. Especially if you are serving in a ministry.