Showing posts from September, 2014

The Substance of Our Joy

"It is thy duty and privilege to rejoice in God: He requires it of thee for all his favours of grace. Rejoice then in the Giver and his goodness, be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God, for whatever a man trusts in, from that he expects happiness. He who is the ground of thy faith should be the substance of thy joy. Whence then comes heaviness and dejection, when joy is sown in thee, promised by the Father, bestowed by the Son, inwrought by the Holy Spirit, thine by grace, thy birthright in believing? Art thou seeking to rejoice in thyself from an evil motive of pride and self-reputation? Thou hast nothing of thine own but sin, nothing to move God to be gracious or to continue his grace towards thee. If thou forget this thou wilt lose thy joy. Art thou grieving under a sense of indwelling sin? Let godly sorrow work repentance, as the true spirit which the Lord blesses, and which creates fullest joy; Sorrow for self opens rejoicing in God, self-loathing draws down div

Set to Marvel

"When he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed..." 2 Thessalonians 1:10. In the midst of a description of the judgment day of the Lord, and a look at the eternal destruction of those who do not know God, Paul gives a glimpse into the lives of those that believe in Jesus. Jesus will be marveled at among all who have believed. We are set to marvel at Jesus. This is not only good news, but it is fun. It is adventure. It is learning more of Jesus. It is being amazed. Marvel. I look forward to that day. But why wait? I think that as we look forward to the Day of Lord and how we will marvel in Jesus when we are with him, we can marvel today. Marvel in the work he has accomplished. Marvel at his declaration of "it is finished." Marvel that God would love us, approves of us and accept us in our good and bad. I want to be known for the way I marvel in Jesus. I hope you do too.

The Location of Our Strength

" And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12  giving thanks   to the Father, who has qualified you   to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:9-14 As I think and pray through my life and ministry I have been challenged and encouraged over the last couple of weeks by Paul's opening to Colossians. It seems to me a good reflection of pastoral leadership. Let's walk through it quickly. From the m

Neither Death Nor Life

Our hope in the face of death is the finished work of Christ. Sermon in our Fearless series on 1 Thessalonians 3-5. [soundcloud url="" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The Question of the Gospel of Grace

"The question which the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? What are you afraid of? "Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ? It can't. "Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ? They can't. "Are you afraid that your inner poverty could separate you from the love of Christ? It can't. "Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children's future? They can't. "Negative self-image? It can't. "Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can't. "Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can't. "Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can't. "Nuclear war? It can't. "Mistakes, fears, uncertainties? They can't. "The gospel of grace calls out: Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus

Who I Long to Be

Yesterday I had the pleasure of heading to Portland with a few great guys to attend the Spurgeon Fellowship. It was a day full of laughter and friendly ribbing, but the preaching of Scotty Smith was a salve to my soul. In his two talks on "Leaders as Chief Repenters," Scotty opened Philippians 2 rightly pairing the imperatives with the gospel indicatives in the text and our place to lean into the finished work of Christ as we lead. A big part of this leaning is then repentance. We drop the pose and pretending and confront our own sin. We repent and embrace the comfort of our union with Christ. As a result of this lifestyle of repentance, the chief repenter becomes a servant leader. He used the example of Jack Miller, one of his mentors, to reveal what it means to be a servant leader in the church. In ten points Scotty laid out the results of repentance and this list is who I want to become as a leader. Someone so enraptured by the gospel of grace that my astonishment increase

Our Treasure in the Chaos

The Fear of the Lord. Isaiah 33:2-6. Tonight's sermon to our young adult gathering. [soundcloud url="" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Be Thou My Vision

More than a hymn of old. It is a prayer I pray daily. That God would be my vision, my treasure. Shall it be our prayer together? [vimeo]  

Fear of the Lord, Vision of Grandeur

"We're bored to death of living but scared to death to really live. What if what's really missing are the deep things of God? What if it's not that next accomplishment or superficial thrill? What if only a ravishing vision of God's grandeur will make the difference?" - Drew Dyck, Yawning at Tigers: You Can't Tame God so Stop Trying.

No matter what, you get the snack

A good friend on mine that does high school ministry recently challenged a student to find a sports metaphor for the gospel (after having heard him use a bunch of sports analogies for trying harder and doing better.) This is what he came up with, and it is spot on. "I would say it would be a kids soccer or baseball game. Where no matter how they played, who they played, win or lose they had hope to look forward to the post game snack . A snack that was predestined for them by their coach and was independent of their performance." "So they didn't and couldn't play for the snack (they are getting it anyway) but they play for the joy of the Coach and play it the right way because it's how the game is intended to be played, the game turns out best for those around you and yourself when u play the way it should be. That is the same with good works, it's a reflection of our Coach's work in us, also a testament of our zeal to honor our Coach by playing the

Guarded in Union with Christ

Tonight's "sermon," more of a talk about our hope in the face of anxiety.  [soundcloud url="" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Relationship, Intimacy, Connection

"Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship . Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy . Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection ." - Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality . That we would seek relationship, intimacy and connection with Jesus.

The Beauty of an Awkward Handshake

I grew up in the generation that was promised an end to racial differences and tensions. I attended a public school district that had mandatory busing so diversity would happen in the classrooms. I have been part of more than my share of conversations on a college campus about privilege and race. Today the discussions are not all that different and the issues still remain in our country. There seems to be little hope. There is a place of hope however, and I was gently reminded of it this week at our young adult gathering. We very intentionally do nothing but revel in the gospel when we gather as young adults each Thursday night. It was actually unsettling for a number of people when I arrived, that I thought ministry among young adults could be more than planned scavenger hunts and mixers full of "Christianese." What young adults in the church need is not a social planner, it is Jesus. And that is what new leaders and attenders of our gathering determined to give. And I think