Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Not as bad as you thought it was

My wife and I have had several conversations lately about how much easier it was with just one child but how we didn't realize it until our second came. In fact I can't imagine why I was ever tired or stressed before children! It is sort of human nature to lack perspective. Whatever challenges you're facing in the moment seem like the most insurmountable... until other challenges come. Of course hindsight allows us to see the Lord's hand in every circumstance and challenge. It allows us to see how He used those circumstances to shape us and prepare us for the next set of circumstances. This is one of the many rewards of faith as Romans 5:1-5 explains. So whatever seems overwhelming in the moment realize that by faith the Lord is using it to refine and there will be a day when you'll look back and see that. You'll realize it was not as bad as you thought it was.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (11-29-11)

  • Here's a cool story about one of my former profs and the dean of Southwestern Seminary's Houston Campus going to Africa because of a letter sent to his deceased grandfather.
  • Paul Copan debunks some myths about the first Christmas.
  • I just finished a series (34 sermons) over Galatians and found this post by Thabiti Anyabwile helpful.
  • I love a meaty prayer meeting and these thoughts from Kevin DeYoung were helpful to think through how to have a more focused prayer meeting.
  • Jim Hamilton gives an example from Princeton Seminary that shows the danger of not watching your life and doctrine closely.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Finishing Galatians and Boasting in the Cross!

Lord willing, tomorrow I'll be preaching the last sermon in a series through Paul's Letter to the Galatians. This series (34 sermons in all) has been a real challenge for me personally. The Lord has used Paul's words to the churches of Galatia to speak to my heart as it concerns walking by faith and putting no confidence in the flesh. He closes the letter with a charge to "boast only in the cross". This charge will be the concern of my final sermon in the series. I love John Piper's quote on this verse regarding what it means to boast only in the cross:

For redeemed sinners, every good thing- indeed every bad thing that God turns for good- was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation… all your rejoicing in all things should therefore be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Every good thing God gives you is to be enjoyed and used to declare the glory of God through the cross of Christ. Every bad thing that God turns for good is to be appreciated and used to glorify the cross of Christ. We have nothing to celebrate if not for the cross of Christ. The death of Jesus to atone for our sins and His resurrection to justify us to God makes everything worth rejoicing. This boast is by the incredible grace of God which comes by the flesh? No... but by faith alone! Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (11-22-11)

  • Church discipline is a very misunderstood doctrine (yes it is a Biblical doctrine) so here is a helpful article on the subject.
  • Consider the wonder of God's sovereignty...
  • This is an excellent post warning those of the Reformed ilk against joyless Calvinism.
  • I thought this was a joke at first. Sadly it is not. Don't cheapen what Christ commanded and handed down to His disciples to publicly declare their radical faith in Him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Practice Hospitality!

Jeff Vanderstelt on the importance of hospitality. Sadly, I think this is a lost practice in the church but must be recovered as it adorns the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jeff Vanderstelt // Hospitality & the Church in America from Newfrontiers USA on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (11-15-11)

  • The scandal at Penn State over alleged child sexual abuse caused me to do some research on abuse statistics. I was shocked that 1-in-4 girls in our country are abused in our country and 1-in-6 boys (before the age of 18). Christians must be alert to protect these weak ones against those who would bring such violence against them. Mark 9:42.
  • Tired of hearing the word "missional". The bottom shelf meaning is simply every Christian intentionally carrying out Christ's redemptive mission in daily life. Here are eight ways to be missional.
  • If you are in or around the Golden Triangle you ought to consider attending this conference (on Biblical Worldview) with Dr. Jobe Martin this weekend (Nov 18-19).
  • I've recently encountered both Calvinist and Arminian (and those in between or not at all) with one common characteristic in their view of the church-- they are consumeristic. David Platt challenges us here on this issue plaguing local churches.
  • "We're not as big or important as we think we are." That's just one statement by Trevin Wax in this helpful post about the SBC's consideration of a name change.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reality of Sin in Happy Valley

The Penn State tragedy (the tragedy is that young boys were assaulted, not that a football program or school has a black-eye) has reminded me of a few realities in this world we live in…

1. No place… not even “Happy Valley” is insulated from sin and the depravity of man.

2. This abhorrent crime against children occurred at a prestigious academic institution in the locker room of a powerhouse athletic program so we see money, education, and athletic glory do not provide the answers to curing man’s deepest problem.

3. Sin is infectious. Consider how one man’s sexual deviance elicited so many others to be deceitful and morally reckless.

4. The consequences of a few men’s sins literally have affected thousands… first and foremost the boys and their families. Then consider as these boys become men (some already are) and how this abuse will affect their marriages and their children. The consequences will also (to a different and lesser degree than the victims) be felt by those football players and coaches (who may have trouble finding work just because of their association with those involved) who had no direct connection to the actions of a few. Finally consider those countless men who do have integrity and give of their time to teaching and coaching young boys—they will face undeserved scrutiny and suspicion because of one monstrous pervert.

5. None are righteous. Sin radically affects every part of us and no part of us came through the Fall unscathed. We may not act as badly as we could (or as badly as those involved in this scandal) but we all act on our sinful condition rendering us unrighteous and unfit to glorify and enjoy a holy God. Thanks be to Him that He is also a loving and merciful God. He provided a Redeemer and rescues undeserving men and women like me from the condemnation we deserve to an everlasting and all-satisfying relationship with Him.

Pray for those involved in this scandal that God would—as He wills—show justice and mercy. Pray especially for these afflicted boys that they will find comfort, healing, and ultimate restoration in the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Padawan

One of the highlights of my week were these moments caught on camera. For a brief few minutes big brother took some interest in his new little sister.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Piper Clair!

It is not often you wake up and know that today is going to be one of the best days of your life. We woke today with a scheduled c-section planned and as the Lord willed we welcomed our new daughter into the world late this afternoon. Mother and baby are doing great! Asher is a happy big brother but mostly because all his grandparents are here to spoil him! We are so thankful and so blessed. Our Lord is overflowingly gracious. Here are a couple pics of my new girl (and my best girl, her mother and my wife)...