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.

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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?


The Ancient Battle Plan for Sexual Purity

Here is an appropriate posting for Valentine’s Day. This is taken from my notes and the article I wrote from the OBC Winter 2008 Men’s Breakfast.

Saturday February 9th Paul Felix from The Master’s Seminary spoke to the Men’s Breakfast at Omaha Bible Church. The topic of his message was “The Ancient Battle Plan for Sexual Purity” and he used 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 3 thru 8 as the biblical text to support the message. The message is a much needed one for believing men, and a message that should be heeded indeed. I have provided an outline from the message. The reason for the message is out of a concern for the roles men have in our society, and those roles include: Father, husband, teacher, minister…and so on. He referenced a book “Disciplines of a Godly Man. by R. Kent Hughes. Hughes provides three concerns for his focus on purity – and it requires sweat, hard work, and effort for the believer.

1. Our culture sweats sensuality from its pores.
2. The evangelical church is like the world.
3. Sensuality is the biggest challenge in our spiritual life.

Many well respected spiritual leaders have fallen to sexual sin. Our hope rests in “Thus saith the Lord.” In Thessalonica sexual impurity was rampant. There was no stemming of the tide with the churches of truth. So we cannot use the excuse that our culture is worse than it was then. The call to be sexually pure is the same. We have a battle plan. Paul Felix also mentioned I Cor. 6:12-20 as another truth for the battle plan. He challenged the men to memorize and meditate on I Thes. 4:3-8 and presented three hard points in the “Ancient Battle Plan for Sexual Purity”.

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Omaha mall shootings

As the gentle snow falls all over Omaha this morning. Our little big town will never quite be the same as we try to sort out the tragic events of a very long day yesterday. Most of us here in Omaha are remembering where we were and what we were doing. Here is what I can recall.

Yesterday, December 5th, as I was busy at work my work mate and friend Don received a phone call that some one has shot people at Von Maur in Westroads Mall, the largest shopping mall here in Omaha. The mall is only 15 minutes from our office. Don has an emergency radio receiver and so we began to listen to the reports and conversations coming from this horrific tragedy as it unfolded. We just couldn’t believe what we were hearing. We were hearing about victim after victim being pulled from the store. Nearly 50 local and state police vehicles had arrived or were en route. They were calling for more emergency teams to be dispatched. As I sat there and listened and prayed for those folks who were hurt or dying. I also thought about the individual or individuals who were perpetrating this on shoppers and store employees. What goes into the heart and mind of such a person? My first thought was nothing goes in their heart and mind but what is already there. For we are born with a sinful nature. Aside from the salvation from Jesus Christ no one does good. My next thought was this: But are all sinners capable of this depth of depravity? Since I have studied God’s word over the years I would have to say yes. All men are sinners and are totally depraved. (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-11) It is only by the grace of God that we don’t have more tragedies like this one.

As I write, we have learned (because we are now inundated with news of this horrific event) that nine people have died including the shooter. He took his own life. And five were injured. Erik Raymond who is one of our assistant pastors at Omaha Bible Church and a fellow blogger at IrishCalvinist has written a great posting about the events here yesterday. I would encourage to go to “How Would You Respond to the Shootings at Omaha’s Westroads Mall?” and read it.

Please pray for the families of the victims, the family of the shooter, and for our little Midwest town in Nebraska.

Local news network link.


Fall has come to Nebraska

Yesterday was the Omaha Bible Church annual church picnic. The picnic was held at Cooper farms which is fairly close to thebaptism at the OBC Fall picnic church building . The grounds at Cooper Farms are very nice and have beautiful hill like surroundings. I have pictures. The day was perfect, a little breezy temps in the 60’s with mostly sunshine throughout the day. In human terms, one of God’s perfect days. I arrived late for the event, got in line for food, and found out they had already run out of plates. This means that we had a great turn out for the picnic. Praise the Lord for that. Someone was going after more plates but I grabbed a piece of chicken breast and a napkin and headed for the tables. I have been trying to eat more healthy of late so the chicken breast was perfect and just enough to fill me up. I visited with several folks from church and fellow ministry servants. Pastor Pat spoke briefly and then we had a couple of people follow Christ in baptism. We use a hot tub sized portable pool to do baptisms in and it was used for these folks at the picnic as well. Check the pictures for that.

Today I got up this morning late to go to the gym and it was raining and cold. Temps were in the low 50’s and will probably get much higher than that all day. I worked out on one of the elliptical aerobic machines for 35 minutes, traveled 4 miles (without really going anywhere) and supposedly burned 450 calories. Woo Hoo!! It feels good. Nice fall weather, getting in shape and blogging at lunch time, it doesn’t get any better than that, right? Buzzzz! Wrong answer BarryDean. Being glorified and spending eternity with my faithful and loving Savior would be the best that it can be. So it could get way better. But maybe this side of heaven it is pretty good.

Lord willing I will be posting another music review Tuesday tomorrow so keep a reading eye out for that. I have also provided a link to my Flickr account for the OBC Fall Picnic pictures I took. Please check them out. Rock on!


Posted by on September 10, 2007 in Fall, Omaha Bible Church, picnic