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Category Archives: Omaha Bible Church

Good Friday and Finishing Well

Today is Good Friday. For some it represents one of the most horrific acts of humanity ever. The killing of the Son of God. For others it represents a celebration because in the death of Jesus Man Running Reaching Finish LineChrist, the Son of God, the many sins of many were atoned for. Paid in full. I tend toward this representation with a slight acknowledgement toward the former. God took the most horrific act of humanity ever, and accomplished the eternal redemption of humanity through the death of the Son on the cross. Can I hear an AMEN!!

All this writing of death and redemption allows me to segue into the real topic of this post. “Finishing Well” is the title of a one day seminar presented by Omaha Bible Church and senior pastor Patrick Abendroth. The seminar was created to instruct the attenders and audio listeners (that’s me) on how to finish out your days on this earth well. Our days are indeed numbered, and by the grace of God you may be allowed enough time to plan for and accomplish this task of finishing well.

Here are the two audio links:

Part 1 – Certainities you need to know in order to finish well.

Part 2 – Actions you need to take in order to finish well.

 

Below is a link to the notes I took while listening.

Finishing Well Notes

I will also post an update to this blog below with some of the planning tools mentioned in the seminar.

Update: Below is a personal profile document for you to use to plan your last days.

Personal Profile

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

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 »

 

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?

 

The Marks of a Godly Man – Mark 2: Pursue godliness.

In Mark 1 of a godly man we learned that a man of God is to flee from the lust of money and it’s influences on our life. The apostle Paul follows up this command with an exhortation to:

Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Tim. 6:11b)

This is the the topic of my second posting in this series and the second mark of a godly man. These marks can be found in a sermon by John MacArthur called “4 Marks of the Man of God“. The structure of this verse in 1 Timothy is perfect because after a don’t command is given we are given a do command. If we are command to flee from something we, in turn, should be running after something. The greek verb for “pursue” actually tranlates to “follow after”. We are commanded to flee from the temporary lures of this world and to follow after the eternal in righeousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. In his sermon John MacArthur focuses on the godliness in these attributes we are to pursue, and so will I.

Godliness is about thinking rightly. We need to allow God to sanctify our minds and hearts and cultivate godliness. The apostle Paul obviously considers godliness to be critical to the man who desires to serve God as a church leader. So much so that he mentions godliness nine times in the pastoral epistles known as 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. The godliness Paul was pursuing influenced him to write: 

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:27 ESV)

The NIV replaces the word “discipline” with “beat”. Paul’s attitude was to beat back the natural desires of the flesh in order to keep from being disqualified as a preacher and bring shame on the Lord. This is serious business. I’ll leave this posting with a quote MacArthur uses to conclude this mark. It is a quote from Charles Bridges. (circa 1794 – 1869):

If we should study the Bible more as ministers than as Christians, more to find matter for the instruction of our people than food for the nourishment of our own souls, we neglect to place ourselves at the feet of our divine teacher. Our communion with Him is cut off and we become mere formalists in sacred profession. We cannot feed ourselves by feeding others.

 

The Marks of a Godly Man – Mark 1: The running man.

I am not sure how many marks I am going to have, but I do know there will be at least four. I am basing this post on a sermon I heard recently from John MacArthur and he outlined at least four marks. I felt compelled to do this topic due to the upcoming weekend Men’s Conference called “Manning Up: in church, home, and culture“. Our local church is hosting the conference during the weekend of Feb. 19th. I am very excited about the conference so I decided to do some pre-conference research and study.

The marks of a godly man can be found in 1 Timothy chapter 6. This text is the basis of John MacArthur’s sermon “4 Marks of the Man of God“. The first mark that a godly man is known by is what he flees from.

But as for you, O man of God, flee from these things. (1 Tim. 6:11a ESV)

In MacArthur’s sermon he points out the greek grammer used here in this verse. The context of flee is a continuial action that is commanded here. We get the word running man or fugitive. We are commanded to be running relentlessly all the time. What is the man of God to flee from? The previous text in the chapter helps me answer this question. It is the lust of money found in verses 9 and 10. If you go all the way back to verse 3 we find that Paul (the author of the text) is referring to those who are deprived of the truth and assume an air of godliness and religion for personal gain. We are instructed by God, through this letter of Paul to Timothy, to flee from the draw and lust of money and it’s influences on our life for all of our lives. Never ceasing. We are never to put a price on our calling. Never put a price on your ministry. John MacArthur forms the following into a statement, but I like the question form. If you do put a price on it, will you have prostituted your calling of God into personal gain? We are to flee I say, flee. Desire to be a running man.

Running Man sketch courtesy of The Digital Sketchbook.

 

Preaching the Word – Entry One

Last Wednesday I began a course offered in our local church for preaching. I am taking this course to be equipped forteaching_preaching_church_teachers preaching and teaching prisoners, which is a ministry I am involved with. Through this course I will be studying expository preaching, which is preaching and teaching God’s word using a verse by verse format. I know there is more to it than that, and I will learn what it is. I plan to use this blog to post entries surrounding my equipping process. Lord willing I will be providing weekly posts. This course is being offered as part of the ongoing Institute for Biblical Studies (IBS) with my local church.

I have been part of a prison ministry for our local church, Omaha Bible Church, for two years now. The Lord has been directing me to me to not only look for family care opportunities with prisoner families but to go inside and participate in the monthly worship services our ministry does. As part of our ministry, we have a few men meeting regularly with prisoners who desire to be mentored and taught about Jesus Christ through God’s word. This is becoming a part of the ministry I desire to be a part of. God has been shaping my heart or desire for this after my first few visits for worship services inside the prison. I pray that God will use this course to strengthen me in proclaiming Jesus Christ through scriptures. As Paul wrote to Timothy:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

I also pray that through this equipping, God will be sanctifying me for His service. I am already learning through my reading assignments what a weighty responsibility preachers and teachers have in teaching God’s word. Our first book is “Preaching: How To Preach Biblically” by John MacArthur and Master’s Seminary Faculty. I have a high respect for pastor John MacArthur and his knowledge for biblical preaching. I also have a high respect for our senior pastor Patrick Abendroth who is teaching us in the preaching class. Please pray for us all.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

D.A. Carson is coming to Omaha Bible Church

I am very excited about this year’s 2008 Fall Conference. Not just because I love to attend conferences focused on the study of God’s word. But because one of my favorite authors and biblical scholars will be speaking this year. D.A. Carson has authored such great books as “The Gagging of God”, “How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil”, and “The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God” which we used in a previous bible study class. One of my favorite quotes from Carson is:

I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much- just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t want to love those from different races- especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of gospel, please.

-D.A. Carson, Basics For Believers: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996/2005), pp. 12-13.

If you are in the Omaha area Saturday, October 4th, you should stop by and study God’s word with D.A. Carson and the rest of us attending the conference. You can register by clicking on the banner above and using the register link. For the time being please watch the video below as Carson answers the questions: What is sin? How is it different from Idolatry?