Showing posts from November, 2015

People of Prayer First of All

As the year is coming to an end one of the key categories of church life that I have been thinking about as of late is corporate prayer. At Grace we have prayer on Tuesdays and Sundays and while those that attend are faithful, participation never matches other events. I realize to some readers this does not sound like a juicy topic, and it probably is not, but if you are a Christian you are called with others to be people of prayer. This doesn't stop at the individual or small group level either, it is actually the first priority of the gathered church. The Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy about how to care for people and lead the church says this: "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to b

Earning the Turn

We love talent shows. The raw judgment and approval of those with just the right stuff to be worthy. We even take some pleasure from witnessing train wrecks of performers, who clearly don't make the cut. It is a fascination in the least and it hints at our own attempts to be desired. One such show is the Voice on NBC. Those attempting to make the show sing to the backs of judges so that only the voice is being judged (judging the looks and persona comes later). And as the contestants belt out their best renditions they just hope for one or more of the judges to turn their chair around and claim the singer as their own. They are trying their best to earn the turn. We might like shows like this one because honestly it is how we live. Every day we are trying to impress and prove our value to others and ultimately to God, who we just know is waiting for us to do something big. But the good news of Jesus and faith in him is that you don't earn the turn, instead it has been earned fo

Few Minutes of Fantastic New Episode 12

"For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand." Romans 13:11-12 In Christ the night is over and coming to and end. This news will carry us through the unknown with our eyes set on the eternity that is promised and secured for us. [audio] Listen here .

Father You Are All We Need

This from Citizens & Saints. It is true friend. The Father is all we need. May he be our satisfaction. Our hope. Our holding it all together. His grip is too firm to let us go. And we only need him. Lord, work this in us. Make this our song. Wreck us with your goodness and provision for us, with your great love for us.

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 11

Because we are favored citizens of King Jesus, we can submit to lesser kings. And our citizenship is headed somewhere glorious. Philippians 3:20-21. [audio] Listen here .  


I read a comment this week that struck me. "Yeah that has to do with faith, but this has to do with security..." The commenter was right, to some extent, but the thought took me back to my days in politics and the countless times I heard that "faith must be separate from politics, decision making, work, etc." It is the age old question, if I have faith, how much of my life does that faith infiltrate. Well friend, if you are a Christian, someone who believes Jesus Christ died in your place on the cross to satisfy the wrath you had accrued for disobedience before God, then the answer to how much of your life is infiltrated is all of it. Every last nook and cranny of all of your life, experience, work, education, political involvement, relationships, what you do to celebrate, how you root for yours favorite sports team, how you spend money, where you decided to live, who you associate with, and everything else is to be shaped, influences, and ruled by you faith in Chri

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 10

The Christian faith calls us to some profound love and living among our neighbors. The fantastic news is that it is just reflecting the love that we have been given in Christ. Let's look at Romans 12:9-21 together. [audio] Listen here .

Jesus' Love for Us

We talked about Jesus' love for us this morning at Grace. It was a nice reminder. Jesus’ love for us. His love is genuine. He calls out sin and clings to the goodness of God, to righteousness that only he can deliver. His love adopts us into the family, it gives us honor we could never deserve… It gives us his place in the kingdom. His love is enthusiastic over us. With unflagging zeal he petitions the Father on our behalf constantly. His love overcomes. There is not a chain that his love can’t break. This love is freedom! This love experienced tribulation so that when we do it covers us. His love meets our every need. Jesus’ life for us… The reality is that we were and are the outsiders. Yet Jesus, the God-man, secure in heaven, in glory, extends himself toward us. He comes and lives among us. Jesus associates with the lowly when the religious are offended. He calls sinners friends. He invites them into his life, into his space. He does what is honorable, living obediently in our

Friday Worship: Good Good Father

I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, and you tell me that you're pleased and I'm never alone... [embed][/embed]

Awe: Why It Matters...

A couple of years ago I was greatly encouraged by Paul David Tripp's Dangerous Calling. It was an honest book highlighting the difficult but glorious road of pastoral ministry. It is one of those books that pastors, elders, and anyone who has a pastor should read every so often to be shaken back into reality. Among the warnings and graces of the book, what stuck with me the most was a chapter on being an awe-driven pastor. Living, ministering and worshiping out of awe of the goodness of God in Christ. This is exactly how I want to live and I am always pursuing, longing for and talking about this awe of the gospel. So when Crossway offered a copy of Tripp's new book, Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do , I jump on it. Tripp is a gifted communicator and this book made up of brief chapters all inclining us to desire more awe. In situation after situation we are presented with the truth of an awe problem in our lives. The reasons we dwell in the land of comfort

To Be Forgotten

"You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." James 4:14 Consistently I come face to face with a guttural inclination to build my own kingdom. I suppose that is the way of our human experience. Labor well, make a name for yourself, influence, cash out and retire. Even in the church I can attempt to build a ministry based on my personality and try to so align structures and personnel around me as the center creating and prolonging my influence, establishing my legacy. It really is pastoral insecurity. I lose the trust I once had in Christ to build his church and I expend myself in proving my worth and ability. A firm remedy for this way of living and leading is found in the words of James. Speaking to the one that would make great declarations of going to this place or that and profiting, James says, "what is your life? For you are a mist that vanishes... you are mere vapor." Mist i

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 9

You are God's gift to other believers. Meant to think with gospel humility, be unified with other believer and using the gifts you have been given for their good and God's glory. Romans 12:3-6. [audio]

Weekend Worship: Spirit of God

Light of life come ignite my longing heart... [embed][/embed]

Wondercamping or Wonderliving?

I love this piece on The Outbound Collective about a group of wonder wanderers that are having some amazing fun together. They call it wondercamping. "It began with weekend trips to the mountains, documenting our adventures together and memories we didn't want to forget. As we ventured outside more and more, we discovered the power in community. We were stepping out of our comfort zones, asking questions, experiencing joy together, and having fun. We found ourselves in moments of wonder, where you have to close our eyes and open them to just to make sure this is real. Most importantly, we were with the people we loved and doing life together." [embed][/embed] "We all began to lose track in the wonder of our playing." Their wonder makes me want to go outside and get it on it as well, but it also points me to the wonderliving those of us in the church are called to. After all, we are on the greatest adventure in awe of the mercies of Go

Romans 8 Series

Romans chapter 8 is among the greatest of declared promises in Scripture. It is the glorious truth of a Spirit-empowered life for those that believe in Jesus. There is nothing to be earned, but many gifts to be cherished in these verses. When we read Romans 8 we can be awestruck at the wonder and work of God for us and in us. At Grace we spent several weeks working through Romans 8 and if you are looking for good news or to deepen your study of the chapter I commend to you the sermons in this series. Links are below. Romans 8:1-8 "Liberation." Listen here . Romans 8:9-11 "Indwelling: The Spirit in You." Listen here. Romans 8:12-17 "Who's Your Daddy?" Listen here . Romans 8:18-25 "The Heart's Deepest Longing." Listen here . Romans 8:26-30 "Assurance for Weary Pilgrims." Listen here . Romans 8:31-39 "Though Accusers Roar." Listen here . May you be encouraged and Christ glorified by these sermons.

Loss of the Pure Evangelist

Today I have been pondering the loss of the pure evangelist in our culture. The One that is so enthralled by a product or service that they just can't help but tell people about it motivated by nothing more than sharing the good thing they have encountered. Instead we live in a "like & like back" culture where most praise for a product is motivated by some reciprocal benefit. Scratch my marketing back and I will scratch yours. This is not in and of itself awful, but the loss of the pure evangelist leaves us always questioning motive and asking "what do you get out of it." We don't trust people anymore and are more inclined to follow their recommendations just because they are famous (at least to us) not because we trust their taste. This is not only a cultural issue but something that Christians have been embracing and excitedly participating in. Give me a book and I will write about on my blog (I do this for the record, because I choose the books to get

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 8

By the mercies of God, you can live different. You can grow in your love of the ways of God. All because you have been given freedom in the gospel. Romans 12:1-2. [audio]