Ordinary Church

September 17, 2014

Here is an encouraging sermon by John MacArthur dealing with the truth that God typically uses ordinary people and churches:

Destinations

July 22, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Tullian’s book, Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free, is free for Nook and Kindle, today ONLY.

Mark Altrogge relates six critical truths about anger. Here is the first one: “Anger is not caused by other people or our circumstances. It comes out of our own hearts.”

How might we encourage a fellow saint struggling with sin. David Murray gives some direction.

How should we understand that pesky 1Tim 2:15 passage about women being saved through childbearing? Bill Mounce enlightens.

Convert, pay tax, or die, Islamic State warns Christians describes the tragic situation in northern Iraq. Ten years ago there were 100,000 believers in Mosul. Today there are 200.

This is cool:

Destinations

July 9, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Here are a few quick links:

Randy Alcorn’s Seeing the Unseen: A Daily Dose of Eternal Perspective is free for Kindle.

I love this: Do Prodigals Feel Welcome At Our Churches?

Both conservatives and liberals struggle with pluralism. Everyone wants everyone else to think like they do. This article picks on liberals for their disdain for Hobby Lobby, but, as I said, conservatives have their blind spots too.

This is a lengthy article in three parts. It compares the mega-churches of today with cruise ships. Interesting stuff.

Working For God

April 8, 2014

Continuing in yesterday’s vein, here is a quote by Gene Veith, Jr.

But laypeople–and their pastors–must remember that they do not have to be doing “church work” in order to be working for God. It is easy to spend every night at a church meeting, “doing the Lord’s work,” but the doctrine of vocation teaches that spending time with your spouse and children and fulfilling the demands of your job are also ways of working for God–or rather, of God working through you.

Destinations

February 18, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_There is a ton of good stuff today. Here are four destinations that I believe are worth your time:

Here is a wonderful story of conversion. “Sara’s Story” is worth reading.

Tithing is one of those issues that changes radically from the Old Testament to the New Testament. “Tithing for New Covenant Believers–Yes or No?” helpfully unpacks the concept.

Doug Wilson, one of the brightest and best of our generation, insightfully discusses the issue our our government’s role in the global warming panic in his piece “Weapon of Mass Confusion.”

What should we say to those who are hurting?

The Moses Syndrome

October 16, 2013

I read an insightful blog yesterday over at True Woman about spiritual gifts. Essentially, the blog said that the Bible doesn’t command us to discern our spiritual gifts. I know that I’ve sung this song before, but I think it is worth revisiting. The problem, as I see it, is that we can evaluate ministry opportunities based on our perceived gifts. When confronted with a need, we might dismiss the opportunity because the need calls for gifts that we don’t think we have. This isn’t what believers are called to do.

Sadly, I’ve dismissed ministry opportunities because I didn’t think that the need matched my gifts. I say this to say that I’m preaching to the choir. I realize that there are often needs that we can’t meet. For example, there are financial needs that are way beyond our bank accounts. On balance, there are those opportunities that come our way that are well within our skill sets that we dismiss without any serious thought because we don’t feel gifted in a particular area.

This sort of ministry evasion has many expressions. We might not visit a skilled nursing home because we don’t think we are good at encouraging people struggling with end of life issues. There might be a family with a desperate financial need that we don’t feel compelled to help even with a sandwich because we don’t have the gift of giving. You get the idea.

While we don’t find encouragement to track down our spiritual gift in Scripture, we do find many admonitions to help people with needs. Hebrews 13:16 for example says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Notice there is no exemption here. Ministry is need-driven, not gift-driven.

How about the Sheep and the Goats passage in Matthew 25? You probably remember what the goats didn’t do. They didn’t feed Jesus or give him something to drink or welcome him or clothe him or visit him in prison. How did they miss serving Jesus? By failing to serve his brothers they failed to serve Him. There is a unity between Jesus and his people. Again, there is no gift exemption here. I think we ought to be very wary of playing that card. It leads to goat-like behavior.

Moses tried to evade ministry using this tactic. In Exodus 4:10 Moses said, “I am not eloquent.” He was saying, “Hey God, this isn’t my gift.” God responded in essence by saying, “Who made your mouth?” Ultimately, Moses was critiquing the way God had made him. In v13 of that passage, Moses begged God to send someone else. The next line in v14 says, “Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses …” Avoiding service by claiming that God didn’t put me together in a way appropriate for the task at hand is not wise. We don’t want God angry with us.

Again, I realize that there are many needs that we can’t address. However, often we don’t serve because of laziness (we don’t want to do it), faithlessness (we don’t believe God will enable us), and lovelessness. James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” The right thing more often than not is to serve, not look for a way out. Isn’t this simply following Jesus? Roll up your sleeves, quit griping and start serving.

Destinations

October 8, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Your Pastor Needs YOU! is a post that I really appreciated. Short and sweet, but good stuff.

Mark Altrogge in Keep. On. Praying encourages his readers to be persistent in prayer. It is so easy to fail in this critical area.

There are many good ebook deals today. Here are a few: Stephen Altrogge’s “The Greener Grass Conspiracy” is $0.99.   Lydia Brownback’s  “Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment” is $0.99. “Work Matters” by Tom Nelson is $0.99. Mike Horton’s “The Gospel-Driven Life” is $3.99 for Nook and Kindle.

Something is seriously wrong with us as a race:

Destinations

June 28, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_How I “Know” My Wife Married the Wrong Person.” The title says it all. Here’s a quote:

For quite some time now, there has been a myth floating around our idealistic individualistic society. A myth that claims that marriage will only work when you find your “smoking-hot, high-class, filthy rich, love-at-first-sight, sexually compatible, accept-me-as-I-am, Titanic-Notebook-Sweet-Home-Alabama-Twilight-esque, soul mate.”

Here is a great quote from Alan Bloom about how university students today believe truth is relative. I have to say that the idea of relative truth just doesn’t make sense. All truth claims can’t be right. 2 + 2 does equal 4, doesn’t it?

Jumping to the Moon: I used this concept in my sermon on Sunday. Tullian helpfully quotes Max Lucado using this idea. Because the law is impossible to keep we desperately need the salvation that comes through Jesus.

As a pastor I appreciated these suggestions for the care and feeding of a pastor. I hadn’t really thought of all these encouragements but I agree what what is mentioned.

Destinations

April 12, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Several months ago I posted this video about the abortion clinic at 3801 Lancaster in Philadelphia.  Babies born alive because of botched abortions were routinely killed. At least one woman died because of an abortion procedure gone wrong. Here are some of the heart-rending details. This alone will move you:

A woman who worked for Gosnell testified that she was called back to a room at his abortion clinic in Philadelphia where the bodies of aborted babies were kept to hear one screaming amid a shelf-full of dead babies. “I can’t describe it,” says the woman. “It sounded like a little alien.” She says the body of the child was about 18 to 24 inches long and was one of the largest babies she had seen delivered during abortion procedures at Gosnell’s clinic.

Have you noticed that there has been almost no media coverage regarding this place? Why is this? Trevin Wax weighs in.

Every Sunday the people of Bowman hear the gospel in some sense. The reason for this is because through Jesus all of our needs are met. Our challenge is to believe this unbelievably good news. Here are two videos that are well worth watching. Both of them point to the impact of the gospel in our lives.

 

Destinations

March 21, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_I’m still pretty much AWOL these day. All our discretionary time is still focused on the house. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We should be able to begin moving in sometime next week.

Here are 7 Traits  of False Teachers taken from the book of 2 Peter. False teaching abounds in our day. This article helps identify it.

Mark Altroggee has helpfully written a piece entitled My Spouse Doesn’t Meet My Needs. The sooner we get this the better.

Here is a free ebook called Raised: Doubting the Resurrection. I’m looking forward to reading  it.

Finally, here is a post about William and Dorothy Carey. You might know that she struggled with severe mental breakdown almost the whole time she lived in India. This article asks if William cared for his family as he should have.