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Showing posts from February, 2015

Keep Listening

As the pastor of a church that is coming out of a very difficult season with lots of lingering hurt, I get a lot of feedback and shared concerns, even critique. That is ministry, and especially ministry in a replanting/rebuilding context. I have found that when I am most inclined to shut out what I would prefer to define as noise, I need to hear it and allow others to be heard. But I can't just stop listening once they have vented frustrations or shared their struggle, I have to keep listening until we get to hope. What are we hopeful for in the life of the church and what are the evidences of grace already among us that we can celebrate. Now in my situation, to be honest, the excited voices far outweigh the critical or concerned. There is a general sense of God at work and we are trusting together in him. But I realize that this strategy to keep listening can benefit all of us greatly in our faith as well. You see, each day you hear tons of voices telling you what they think it tr

Consider the work of God

This week our sermon was from Ecclesiastes 7 and trusting God . The Preacher-King tells the reader to "consider the work of God." It is quite the instruction. He essentially says, 'think about God's work, it can't be changed.' While my first inclination is the balk at that as sounding depressing rather than hopeful, when we really consider the work of God, especially in Christ for us, we see how this is a place of hope for us. God, in his sovereignty, is to be trusted. And in Christ we have a keen view of God's work. This truth should hit us in our core. It should shape how we interact with people, difficult and easy situations, work, our health. All places we can grow in trust. I know I need to grow in trusting God not only for areas in my own life but in the life of the church. Leading a church that is battered and hurting has opened my eyes to a need to trust God. Fully aware of the situation; a church where all the elders resigned avoiding reconciliati

Father Abraham

"Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith." (Galatians 3:7-9 ESV) Those of faith, are sons of Abraham. Sons of promise. Faith in Christ grants you a place in this blessing. In fact, Jesus is the gift by which all of the nations will be blessed. This is not just some fun fact. This is entry into covenant with God. This is being a child of the most high. This is being numbered among the stars of promise. In Christ you are righteous, free and blessed. God has justified sinner, near and far, by faith. Get some. Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them and so are you. So let's just praise the Lord!

All the Answers

"I wish I could tell you that I experience this often... or even that I can tell you how. But I can't... All I know is that Jesus says it is yours." This was in yesterday's sermon on Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12 and contentment. The writer of Ecclesiastes says contentment is a good gift from God but doesn't tell you how to get it. Paul in the NT tells us he is content because of Christ but doesn't give me steps to achieve it. So I can't preach what isn't there. As I am wallowing that I am surely an ineffective preacher without answers for my faithful congregation, a friend retweets a Jared C. Wilson tweet from months ago: "You're the preacher?" "Yes." "So you're the guy with all the answers." "No, I'm the guy who points to that guy." Boom. I am that guy who points to the One with all the answers. This is then how I head into the pulpit, and declare Christ. He has the answers. He is the answer. He is our co

Who is in control of application?

"We sometimes think in terms of “applying the truth to my life.” That’s good, as far as it goes. But applying the truth to our lives still leaves us in control. We decide how far we will go with Jesus, we decide where he will fit in, which is why he inevitably ends up crowded out to the margins of our already overcrowded lives." Ray Ortlund preaching on John 5.  HT: Dan Ortlund

Words of Life

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,   and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  John 6:66-69 Jesus has fed 5,000 in miraculous fashion. He has declared that he is the provision of God for the people and that all they need to do is believe in him. Then it got weird. Jesus told the people they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. As this, they turned away from him. Now Jesus didn’t mean that they literally had to eat him and drink his blood, but that he would have to be a final, one-for-all sacrifice for them and they would have to believe in him. But they don’t see that and “no longer walked with him.” All that is left is the faithful twelve. Jesus questions them to see if they too will leave him and Peter responds with a profound truth. “Lord, to whom