Showing posts from October, 2013

The New Bereans

I often hear pastors encouraging their church members to be Bereans (those that search the Scriptures to make sure was is being taught is right; Acts 17) but rarely do I feel like they mean it. Typically, and sadly, most church attenders take the pastor at his word and trust that he is the one that is trained and he must be an expert. This generally works if the pastor is preaching Biblical truth as the apostles did but occasionally there is the misguided interpreter of Scripture preaching to hungry souls tainted meat. That is when the Bereans among us come it, search the Scriptures and reveal the truth. New research suggests that Millennials are living out their cultural experience of "fact checking" at church and becoming new Bereans within the church. This is a good thing. The Barna report concluded: "The one-way communication from pulpit to pew is not how Millennials experience faith. By nature of digital connectedness, Millennial life is interactive. For many of th

Worship is more than a song...

Music heavy season on the blog! This one from Jimmy Needham is rich. Enjoy. [youtube=] Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too Until the congregations few, then have revival Tell your friends that this is where the party ends Until you're broken for your sins, you can't be social Then seek the lord & wait for what he has in store And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful 'cause you can sing all you want to Yes, you can sing all you want to You can sing all you want to And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song Take a break from all the plans that you have made And sit at home alone and wait for god to whisper Beg him please to open up his mouth and speak And pray for real upon your knees until they blister Shine the light on every corner of your life Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open Then read

Without Jesus

Just this:


This week I participated in a prayer summit with other pastors in our church association CBNW . During one session I got to pray with George. We sate next to each other during the first half of the summit and George would often lead us men in signing hymns to our savior. As we prepared to prayer for one another we gave our stories and I was blessed at George's longevity in ministry. In 1957 George graduated from Western Seminary (where I will graduate in the spring) and by 1962 he had planted a little church in the Columbia gorge where he still pastors today. 51 years. Read that again... George has pastored a small congregation in a small Oregon town for fifty-one years. Along the way George was a school teacher and while he retired from teaching over twenty years ago, his passionate for the pulpit hasn't ceased. George is never going to be on a conference speakers line up or well-known for his theological acumen and church influence. But I think the Father is blessed by George

No New Yoke

This verse was written on a board in one of the classrooms at church a few weeks ago and I was rather pleased to see it and to be reminded to stand firm in not submitting to a new yoke. That is the message Paul was conveying to the Galatian church; don't move back under law when you have been given freedom in Christ. Their situation was fairly logical for first century believers. Ethnic Jews among the population were claiming that once someone claimed Christ as savior that they had to undertake the symbolism of the Old Covenant and be circumcised. But Christ came to fulfill the law and give us freedom to live for him unencumbered by the old law. Paul makes clear that when we add anything to Christ we have missed the point. While not many of us are attempting to burden new believers with physical covenants we just can't help ourselves and we are constantly adding more than grace requires of our faith. We create tiers of Christianity and reserve the top spots for those most obedi

The Holy Ghost Points to Jesus

"Holy Ghost, who is evermore the Comforter of the church. It is his office to console the hearts of God's people. He convinces of sin; he illuminates and instructs; but still the main part of his work lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak, and lifting up all those that be bowed down. He does this by revealing Jesus to them. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If we may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Jesus is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ's name and grace. He takes not of his own things, but of the things of Christ." - Charles Spurgeon

Thyself hast loved me

"My God, I love Thee; Not because I hope for heaven thereby, nor yet because who loved thee not, must dies eternally. Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me upon the cross embrace; Thou, O my Jesus, for me Thou didst bear the nails, the nails and spear, and manifold disgrace; Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ, should I not love Thee well? Not for the hope of winning heaven, or escaping hell; not with hope of gaining aught, not seeking a reward; But as Thyself hast loved me, O everloving Lord! Even so I love Thee, and will love, and in Thy praise will sing; solely because Thou art my God, and my eternal King." - Francis Xavier

Leadership and Grace

Justin Holcomb has a great article on some things he wishes he had known early in ministry. I commend the whole thing to you. Specifically for me what is refreshing is his take on leading from a position of grace. "Mature leaders are secure enough to be insecure. We get this from Jesus, who demonstrated his power by death on the cross. Following him, Christian leadership looks like suffering and self-sacrifice in the service of others as we give ourselves unconditionally to the aid of others. Mature leadership is built on trust, empowering others, and a deep sense of security, not in self, but in Christ." Justin also quotes Carl Trueman on eldership. "Elders, for example, are not to be those renowned for throwing their weight around, for badgering others, and for using their position or wealth or credentials to enforce their own opinions. No, the truly Christian elder is the one who devotes his whole life to the painful, inconvenient, and humiliating service of others,

Marriage, Six Years On

Today I am celebrating six wonderful years of marriage with my lovely wife Stacy. She is an amazing wife, mother and follower of Christ. She is a woman willing to risk it all for Jesus' sake and she has supported me when she has deserved so much better. Together we are learning more and more about grace and we long to keep preaching the truth of Jesus together for a very long time (okay Stacy doesn't want to "preach" but she does a great job of telling people!) I am a man blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve. I love you Stacy and congrats on six years of tolerating me!

Of What Use is Christ?

"Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:3-5, ESV) Too often we live a self-centered religion that forces us to think through our own performance, both to achieve something and to seem righteous to those around us. If we have eyes to see it however we will realize this "religion" is no faith at all and simply reliance on our own work. If you are Christian, you have no time for this trash. If you desire it, there are plenty of other "ways" you can follow but just like performance driven "christianity" they will leave you lost and without hope. This weekend I was asked to read this section of scripture during a worship session for l

Pleading Thrice for the Sake of Christ

"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, ESV) We pray, we plead that things would change. That the thorn keeping us from being conceited would be taken away. But for Paul, and encounter with Christ eases his pleading and he learns that Christ's grace is sufficient for him. Some of my friends might suggest that Paul gave up too easy. That he didn't "pray through"